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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 tends to be gradual, so how can one know if they have it? There is no stinging pain to serve as a warning signal. You do not pass out or make unnecessary trips to the bathroom when it happens, either. It’s safe to say the symptoms of hearing loss are more subtle than other autoimmune disorders like diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Nevertheless, there are indications if you know what you’re looking for. It’s a matter of paying attention to the way you hear and the effect any change could be having on your life. Consider some ways you can identify hearing loss for you or somebody you love.

A Change in Communication

The effect on socializing offers some of the most telling signs. For instance, if the first word from your mouth through most discussions is “what?” That shows you aren’t understanding words easily. Questioning people you speak to tell you again what they said is something they are very likely to detect before you do, too, so listen to how folks react to having conversations with you.

When speaking to a group of a couple of individuals, you may have trouble keeping track of things. You are missing parts of what everybody says, thus you are not connecting the dots anymore. You can’t ask everybody talking to repeat themselves, either, so you just get lost. As time passes, you limit group conversations or stand there not listening to what is stated, because it is just too confusing when you do.

The Background Noise Drowns Everything Out

If all you hear these days is background noise, then it’s time to get a hearing test. This is a frequent symptom of hearing loss since you are no longer able to filter out sounds like a fan blowing off or an air conditioner running. It gets to the point at which you can not hear what folks are saying to you because it becomes lost in the background sound.

The TV Creeps Up and Up and Up

It is simple to excuse the need to turn the TV volume up on this dying box because of a busy room, but if it occurs all the time, it is most likely a sign of gradual hearing loss. When everybody else begins complaining that you have the TV or computer volume up too high, you should wonder why that is, and, probably, come to terms with the fact that your hearing is not as good as it was at one time.

You Find Yourself Watching Their Lips

Lip reading is a compensation mechanism for missed words. Gradual hearing loss starts with the reduction of tough sounds. Words which contain specific letters will be incomplete. Your mind might automatically shift your eyes to the person’s lips to fix the issue. It is likely that you won’t even understand you do it until somebody tells you or unexpectedly looks uncomfortable when speaking to you.

Then There is the Buzzing

It can be a ringing, clicking or buzz or the sound of wind in your ears — this is called tinnitus, and it is a warning of significant hearing loss. These sounds aren’t real, but auditory hallucinations that just you hear. For many people, they are only annoying, but for others tinnitus is painful. If you’ve got that, then you most surely have hearing loss that you need to address.

Hearing problems aren’t always obvious to the individual experiencing them, but it’s to others. Listen to what your family is telling you about your hearing loss. Consider, too, other medical issues that may give rise to this problem such as hypertension or medication you have been prescribed that could damage your ears and discover if age-related hearing loss is a hereditary problem you should be worried about.

If you do come to that conclusion, see your health care provider and get a professional hearing test for confirmation. Hearing loss isn’t the end of the world, but for most, it will imply it’s time to consider hearing aids.