If you suffer from hearing loss, you would assume it would be obvious, right?
Actually, that’s exactly the issue; many people presume it would. However, although severe or abrupt hearing loss is easy to recognize, mild to moderate developing hearing loss can be far too subtle to notice. That’s the reason why, on average, people will wait more than five years from the onset of symptoms to seek help.
Picture hearing loss as a slow leak in a tire. It’s difficult to detect the everyday changes, and it’s only when the tire goes flat, and your car is no longer drivable, that you choose to act.
Regrettably, whereas tires are replaceable, your hearing is not. It can be in some measure restored, but the sooner you deal with your hearing loss the more of your hearing you’ll get back.
So how can you notice the symptoms of early-stage hearing loss? Below are several of the hidden signs that suggest you should get a professional hearing test.
1. Difficulty hearing particular sounds
Commonly people think that hearing loss impacts all types of sounds. So, if you can hear some sounds normally, you assume you can hear all sounds normally.
Don’t get caught into this mode of thinking. The reality is that hearing loss predominantly affects higher-frequency sounds. You might discover that you have particular difficulty hearing the voices of women and children, for example, owing to the higher pitch.
This may lead you to believe that the people you can’t hear are mumbling, when in truth, you have high-frequency hearing loss.
2. Depending on context to comprehend speech
Somebody is talking from behind you and you can’t understand what they’re saying until you turn around. You have to depend on body language, and possibly lip reading, for supplementary 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 lower frequencies. The issue for those with high-frequency hearing loss is that consonants transmit the most meaning yet are the most difficult 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 responding inappropriately or asking people to repeat themselves frequently. You may also have difficulty hearing on the phone.
3. Difficulty hearing in noisy settings
With mild hearing loss, you can usually understand what other people are saying, albeit with lots of effort. Once background noise is presented, however, the task usually becomes overwhelming.
You might find that it’s difficult to hear in group settings or in noisy environments like at restaurants or social gatherings. The competing sounds and background noise are muffling your already affected hearing, making it incredibly difficult to concentrate on any single source of sound.
4. Mental Fatigue
Last, you may notice that you’re more tired than normal after work or after participation in group settings. For individuals with hearing loss, the persistent battle to hear, together with the effort to grasp incomplete sounds, can contribute to severe exhaustion, which is a non-obvious symptom of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is gradual and ends up being more complicated to treat the longer you wait. If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, even if they’re only minor, we strongly suggest scheduling a hearing test. By acting sooner, you can preserve your hearing and stay connected to your loved ones.