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

It may seem like it’d be evident, but hearing loss will be gradual, so how can one know if they have it? There is no darting pain to serve as a warning sign. You do not collapse or make additional trips to the restroom when 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 if you know to look for them. It is a matter of paying attention to the way you hear and the effect any change might be having on your life. Take the time to consider the ways you can identify hearing loss for you or somebody you love.

Conversation Gets Harder

The impact on socializing provides some of the most telling signs. For instance, if the first thing from your mouth during most conversations is “what?” That shows you are not understanding words easily. Questioning people you talk to tell you again what they said is something they are likely to detect before you do, too, so pay attention to how people react to having a chat with you.

When talking in a group of two or more people, you might have difficulty following along. You are missing pieces of what each person says, thus you aren’t connecting the dots anymore. You can’t ask everybody talking to echo themselves, either, so you just get lost. Over time, you hide from group conversations or stand there not understanding what is said, because it’s just too confusing when you do.

Background Noise is Overpowering

If all you hear nowadays is background noise, then it is time to get a hearing test. This is a frequent sign of hearing loss because you’re not able to filter out sounds just like a fan blowing or an air conditioner operating. It gets to the point where you can not hear what folks are saying to you because it becomes lost in the background sound.

The TV Volume Creeps Up and Up

It is simple to excuse the need to flip the TV volume up on this tired box because of a noisy area, but when it happens every day, it’s most likely a sign of gradual hearing loss. When everyone else begins complaining that you’ve got the TV or computer volume up too high, you need to wonder why this really is, and, likely, come to terms with the fact that your hearing is not as good as it had been once.

You End up Seeing Their Mouth

Lip reading is a compensation technique for missing words. Gradual hearing loss starts with the loss of hard sounds. Words which contain specific letters will probably be faulty. Your brain might automatically shift your attention to the person’s lips to fix the problem. Chances are you won’t even understand you do it until someone points it out or unexpectedly acts uncomfortable when speaking with you.

Then There is the Buzzing

You may hear a clicking, ringing, or buzzing or the sound of wind in your ears — this is called tinnitus, and it is a sign of significant hearing loss. These sounds are not real, but phantom noises that only you hear. For many people, they are only annoying, but for others tinnitus is painful. If you’ve got it, then you certainly have hearing loss you need to handle.

Hearing problems are not always obvious to the individual suffering from them, but it’s to others. Listen to what your loved ones are telling you about your hearing. Consider, too, other medical issues that may contribute to the problem like hypertension or medication you have been prescribed that could damage your ears and discover if age-related hearing loss runs in your family.

When you do come to this conclusion, see your health care provider and receive a professional hearing test for affirmation. Hearing loss isn’t the worst health issue you could have, but for many, it does mean it’s time to consider hearing aids.