Hearing loss rarely happens suddenly. More often than not it manifests itself early, creeping up slowly, so that it can reach quite an advanced stage before you’ve even noticed. But there are telltale signs that all is not well if you know where to look for them. Here are some of the common early symptoms of hearing loss…
Exhaustion after noisy events
When there’s lots of noise happening at once, and lots of people talking at the same time, your brain has to work hard to pick up what one particular person is saying. The effort required is amplified if you can’t hear all the sounds of speech. In this case, your brain also has to fill in the gaps to help you understand what’s being said, and this can wear you down if it’s having to do this all evening.
You watch lips, rather than eyes
This is something you can do for years without realizing. When your hearing is strong you’ll make lots of eye contact when talking to someone. But when it weakens, other senses can take over to try and accommodate. The next time you have a conversation, consider whether you’re looking at their eyes or their mouths. If they shield their mouths, can you still hear everything they’re saying?
You struggle to follow conversation
This is a particular problem in crowded places, where there’s background noise. As you get older you often struggle to hear high-frequency sounds, so some of the speech might get lost in the general hum. You might even go as far as avoiding these sorts of situations, knowing you’re uncomfortable, without fully understanding why. Perhaps a device that improves your hearing will help you enjoy these environments once again.
The TV volume gets louder and louder
This can also happen so gradually, you don’t realize you’re doing it until someone enters your living room and shouts, “turn it down!”. TV combines talking with music and sound effects, so if you struggle to pick up higher frequencies, you might lose some of the speech. You’ll then turn the volume up, possibly believing the sound quality of your TV or the production quality of the show is to blame.
If you experience any of these yourself, or you’re in any way anxious about your hearing, get checked out by a hearing care specialist, who can give you guidance on the best options for improving your hearing again.