A man is unable to hear or see and is surrounded by question marks.

You may think it’d be evident, but hearing loss tends to be slow, so how does one know if they have it? There is no stinging pain to serve as a warning signal. You do not collapse or make a few more trips to the toilet once it happens, either. It’s safe to say the signs of hearing loss are somewhat more subtle than other autoimmune disorders like diabetes or heart disease.

Even so, there are indications should you know what you’re looking for. It is a matter of paying attention to the way you hear and the impact any change might be having in your life. Consider the ways you’re able to pinpoint hearing loss for you or somebody you love.

A Change in Communication

The impact on socializing offers a number of the most telling signs. For instance, if the first word out of your mouth through most conversations is “what?” That shows you aren’t comprehending words well. Questioning people you speak to repeat what they said is something they are very likely to notice before you do, too, so listen to how folks react to having conversations with you.

When speaking to a group of two or more people, you might have difficulty following along. You’re missing parts of what everybody says, so you are not part of the conversation. You can’t ask everybody speaking to echo themselves, either, so you just get lost. Over time, you limit group conversations or stand there not listening to what’s said, since it is just too confusing once you do.

The Background Noise Takes Over

If all you hear these days is background sound, then it is time to get a hearing exam. This is a frequent symptom of hearing loss because you are not able to filter out sounds like a fan blowing off or an air conditioner running. It gets to the point where you can not hear what people are saying to you since it becomes lost in the background noise.

The TV Volume Creeps Up and Doesn’t Stop

It is easy to blame the need to flip the TV volume up on this tired box because of a busy area, but when it occurs every day, it is probably a sign of gradual hearing loss. When everyone else starts complaining that you have the TV or computer volume up too high, you need to wonder why that is, and, probably, come to terms with the fact that your hearing isn’t like it had been at one time.

You Find Yourself Seeing Their Lips

Reading lips is a coping mechanism for missing words. Gradual hearing loss begins with the reduction of tough sounds. Words which contain certain letters will be incomplete. Your brain might automatically shift your eyes to the person’s lips to fix the problem. Chances are you don’t even know you do it until someone tells you or suddenly acts uncomfortable when talking with you.

Tinnitus Takes it’s Toll

You may hear a clicking, ringing, or buzzing or the noise of breeze in your ears — this is called tinnitus, and it is an indication of significant hearing loss. These sounds are not real, but auditory hallucinations that just you hear. For some people, they are only bothersome, but for others tinnitus is debilitating. If you’ve got that, then you certainly have hearing loss you need to handle.

Hearing problems are not always obvious to the individual suffering from them, but it is to others. Listen to what your loved ones are telling you about your hearing loss. Consider, also, other medical problems that may contribute to this problem such as high blood pressure or medication you take that can damage your ears and discover if age-related hearing loss is a hereditary problem for you.

If you do come to that decision, visit your doctor and receive a professional hearing test for affirmation. Hearing loss isn’t a catastrophe, but for many, it will imply it’s time to think about hearing aids.