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You may think that hearing loss would be simple to spot, but it’s not as straightforward to recognize as you might believe.

To start with, many people with hearing loss have challenges only with specified sounds and in distinct scenarios. So, if you can hear normally on some occasions, you’ll have the tendency to blame other factors or other people for the occasions you do have trouble hearing.

Second, hearing loss takes place slowly and gradually over time, so it’s difficult to recognize the slow progression. It’s faster and easier to pin the blame on others for mumbling, or to turn up the TV volume a little louder, than to admit that you may possibly have hearing loss.

So, the signs can be elusive. You have to know what to watch for, and although it’s easy to reject that you have hearing loss, you should be honest with yourself about the warning signs.

Here are the top 10 to watch out for. If you detect the presence of any, it may be time to schedule a hearing exam.

  1. You experience ringing in the ears – this may be indicative of permanent hearing damage. Hearing aids can not only allow you to hear better, but they may also have the ability to alleviate the ringing in your ears.
  2. You are not able to hear normal household sounds – hearing loss can make it hard to hear the doorbell, the phone ringing, or another person shouting your name from another room.
  3. You have difficulty understanding TV dialogue – speech is normally much more difficult to hear than other types of sound. This frequently manifests itself as trouble following movie or TV show plots.
  4. You have your phone, television, or radio at maximum volume – if you can hear the TV, phone, or radio much better than you can hear personal discussions, check out the volume settings on your technology. You may have these devices set at excessive volumes while concurrently believing that everyone else speaks too softly.
  5. You ask people to repeat themselves regularly – you recognize that you say “what?” a lot, or that you need to ask people to repeat themselves when you’re not facing them.
  6. You commonly misread what people are saying – consonants are higher-pitched, and thus more difficult to hear, than vowels. Seeing that consonants transmit the majority of the meaning in a sentence, speech comprehension suffers.
  7. You have trouble hearing all the words in a discussion – select sounds and letters are more challenging to hear than others. What this means is you can hear the majority of the words in a sentence, but that you have to more often than not try to fill in the blanks.
  8. You have difficulty hearing when your back is to the speaker – you may depend on lip reading, body language, and other cues to meaning more than you realize. When you’re not looking at the speaker, and can’t use these cues, you may have trouble understanding speech.
  9. You have difficulty hearing with a great deal of background noise – as hearing loss gets to be worse, contesting noise becomes more of a challenge. You might have the capacity to hear speech in quiet surroundings, but it becomes more and more difficult to follow conversations in a noisy environment like a restaurant.
  10. People complain that you shout or have the TV volume too loud – people may notice that you have the TV volume too loud or that you have the predisposition to yell. It doesn’t appear to be this way to you because you’re compensating for your hearing loss.

Do you have one or more of the top 10 warning signs of hearing loss? If yes, schedule your hearing test today, and take the steps to start living an improved, more productive, and healthier life.