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You may think hearing loss should be simple to identify, but it’s not as easy to recognize as you might think.

To start with, most people with hearing loss have challenges only with specified sounds and in specific scenarios. Consequently, if you can hear normally on some occasions, you’ll tend to blame other factors or other people for the occasions you do have a tough time hearing.

Second, hearing loss occurs slowly and gradually through the years, so it’s difficult to recognize the slow progression. It’s easier to blame others for mumbling, or to turn up the TV volume a bit louder, than to admit that you might have hearing loss.

So, the signs and symptoms can be subtle. You need to know what to watch for, and while it’s easy to disavow 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 set up a hearing exam.

  1. You experience ringing in the ears – this may be an indicator of permanent hearing damage. Hearing aids can not only cause you to hear better, but they may additionally be able to lessen the ringing in your ears.
  2. You are not able to hear normal household sounds – hearing loss can make it tough to hear the doorbell, the phone ringing, or another person calling your name from another room.
  3. You have difficulty comprehending TV dialogue – speech is ordinarily much more difficult to hear than other kinds of sound. This often manifests itself as trouble following movie or television show plots.
  4. You have your cellphone, TV, or radio at max volume – if you can hear the TV, phone, or radio better than you can hear personal discussions, check out the volume settings on your devices. You could have these gadgets set at elevated volumes while also thinking that everyone else talks too softly.
  5. You ask people to repeat themselves regularly – you notice that you say “what?” a lot, or that you need to ask people to repeat themselves when you’re not facing them.
  6. You frequently misunderstand what people are saying – consonants are higher-pitched, and thus more difficult to hear, than the lower-pitched vowels. Seeing as consonants convey most of the meaning in a sentence, speech comprehension suffers.
  7. You have difficulty hearing all the words in a conversation – particular 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 many times try to fill in the blanks.
  8. You have trouble hearing when your back is to the speaker – you may depend on lip reading, nonverbal communication, and other cues to meaning more than you think. When you’re not facing the speaker, and can’t use these hints, you may have difficulty understanding speech.
  9. You have a hard time hearing with a great deal of background noise – as hearing loss becomes worse, competing noise becomes more of a problem. You might be able to hear speech in quiet locations, but it becomes progressively difficult to follow conversations in a noisy environment like a restaurant.
  10. People say that you shout or have the TV volume too loud – people may comment that you have the TV volume too loud or that you have the tendency to shout. It doesn’t seem 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 so, set up your hearing test today, and take the steps to begin living an improved, more productive, and healthier life.