Triangular sign with an exclamation point in front of blue background

If you suffer from hearing loss, you might assume it would be obvious, right?

Actually, that’s precisely the issue; most people think it would. Unfortunately, even though severe or abrupt hearing loss is easy to detect, mild to moderate gradual hearing loss can be too subtle to notice. That’s why, on average, people will wait five years or longer from the onset of symptoms to seek help.

Imagine hearing loss as a gradual leak in a tire. It’s challenging to notice the day-to-day changes, and it’s only when the tire becomes flat, and your car is no longer drivable, that you decide to act.

Unfortunately, while tires are replaceable, your hearing is not. It can be in some measure recovered, but the sooner you attend to your hearing loss the more of your hearing you’ll restore.

So how can you recognize the signs and symptoms of early-stage hearing loss? Following are several of the hidden signs that indicate you should get a professional hearing examination.

1. Difficulties hearing certain sounds

Frequently people believe that hearing loss affects all types of sounds. Therefore, if you can hear some sounds normally, you assume you can hear all sounds normally.

Do not get caught up into this manner of thinking. The reality is that hearing loss principally affects higher-frequency sounds. You might observe that you have particular difficulty hearing the voices of women and children, for example, due to the higher pitch of their voices.

This may possibly lead you to think that the people you can’t hear are mumbling, when in reality, you have high-frequency hearing loss.

2. Depending on context to understand

Somebody is speaking from behind you and you can’t comprehend what they’re saying unless you turn around. You are forced to depend on body language, and potentially lip reading, for extra information to fill in the blanks.

Speech is comprised of an array 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 communicate the the majority of the meaning yet are the most challenging to hear.

If you have hearing loss, speech comprehension is much like reading a sentence with missing letters. More often than not, you’ll get it right, but when you don’t, you may find yourself responding inappropriately or requesting people to repeat themselves constantly. You may also experience difficulty hearing on the phone.

3. Difficulty hearing in loud surroundings

With mild hearing loss, you can normally decipher what other people are saying, albeit with lots of effort. Once background noise is presented, on the other hand, the task often becomes overwhelming.

You might discover that it’s difficult to hear in group settings or in noisy environments like restaurants or social gatherings. The competing sounds and background noise are muffling your already affected hearing, making it highly difficult to focus on any single source of sound.

4. Mental Fatigue

Finally, you may observe that you’re more exhausted than normal after work or after engagement in group settings. For individuals with hearing loss, the persistent fight to hear, together with the effort to grasp incomplete sounds, can create serious exhaustion, which is a non-obvious symptom of hearing loss.

Hearing loss is progressive and becomes more difficult to treat the longer you wait. If you experience any of these symptoms, even if they’re only minor, we strongly recommend scheduling a hearing test. By taking action sooner, you can preserve your hearing and stay connected to your loved ones.