If you have hearing loss, you would imagine it would be obvious, right?
Actually, that’s precisely the issue; many people assume it would. Unfortunately, although severe or abrupt hearing loss is easy to recognize, mild to moderate developing hearing loss can be far too subtle to observe. That’s the reason why, on average, people will wait five years or longer from the onset of symptoms to seek help.
Think of hearing loss as a gradual leak in a tire. It’s challenging to observe the daily changes, and it’s only when the tire goes flat, and your car is no longer drivable, that you decide to act.
Regrettably, whereas tires are replaceable, your hearing is not. It can be to a degree restored, but the earlier you deal with your hearing loss the more of your hearing you’ll restore.
So how can you identify the symptoms of early-stage hearing loss? The following are some of the hidden signs that indicate you should consider a professional hearing examination.
1. Difficulties hearing certain sounds
Commonly people believe that hearing loss affects all types of sounds. So, if you can hear some sounds normally, you assume you can hear all sounds normally.
Do not get caught into this manner of reasoning. The reality is that hearing loss predominantly affects higher-frequency sounds. You might observe that you have particular difficulty hearing the voices of women and children, for example, because of the higher pitch of their voices.
This may possibly lead you to believe that the individuals you can’t hear are mumbling, when in truth, you have high-frequency hearing loss.
2. Relying on context to understand
Someone is talking from behind you and you can’t understand what they’re saying until you turn around. You have to rely on body language, and possibly lip reading, for extra information to fill in the blanks.
Speech consists of a wide range of frequencies, from low to high, with consonants representing the high frequencies and vowels representing the low frequencies. The issue for people with high-frequency hearing loss is that consonants impart the most meaning yet are the most challenging to hear.
If you have hearing loss, speech comprehension is much like reading a sentence with missing letters. For the most part, you’ll get it right, but when you don’t, you may find yourself replying inappropriately or asking people to repeat themselves frequently. You may also have difficulty hearing on the phone.
3. Difficulty hearing in busy surroundings
With mild hearing loss, you can generally understand what others are saying, albeit with a lot of effort. Once background noise is presented, however, the task often becomes overwhelming.
You might discover that it’s difficult to hear in group settings or in noisy environments like at restaurants or parties. The competing sounds and background noise are muffling your already affected hearing, making it incredibly difficult to focus on any single source of sound.
4. Mental Exhaustion
Last, you may notice that you’re more fatigued than normal after work or after engagement in group settings. For people with hearing loss, the constant struggle to hear, combined with the effort to understand incomplete sounds, can trigger severe exhaustion, which is a non-obvious sign of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is progressive and becomes more complicated to treat the longer you delay. If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, even if they’re only mild, we strongly suggest scheduling a hearing test. By taking action earlier, you can preserve your hearing and stay connected to your family and friends.