If you have hearing loss, you would think it would be obvious, right?
Well, that’s exactly the issue; most people assume it would. Unfortunately, although severe or abrupt hearing loss is easy to identify, mild to moderate gradual hearing loss can be 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 out help.
Imagine hearing loss as a slow leak in a tire. It’s difficult to perceive the day-to-day changes, and it’s only when the tire becomes flat, and your car is no longer drivable, that you choose to act.
Regrettably, while tires are replaceable, your hearing is not. It can be partially recovered, but the sooner you treat your hearing loss the more of your hearing you’ll regain.
So how can you detect the symptoms of early-stage hearing loss? Below are some of the hidden signs that suggest you should get a professional hearing assessment.
1. Trouble hearing particular sounds
Oftentimes people assume that hearing loss affects all types of sounds. Therefore, if you can hear some sounds normally, you believe you can hear all sounds normally.
Do not get stuck into this mode of reasoning. The fact is that hearing loss primarily affects higher-frequency sounds. You may notice that you have particular difficulty hearing the voices of women and children, for example, because of the higher pitch of their voices.
This may possibly lead you to believe that the individuals you can’t hear are mumbling, when the truth is, you have high-frequency hearing loss.
2. Depending on context to understand
Somebody is talking from behind you and you can’t comprehend what they’re saying unless you turn around and face them. You have to depend on body language, and potentially lip reading, for extra information used to fill in the blanks.
Speech consists of a wide range of frequencies, from low to high, with consonants representing the high frequencies and vowels representing the lower frequencies. The problem for those with high-frequency hearing loss is that consonants express the most meaning yet are the most difficult to hear.
If you have hearing loss, speech comprehension is like reading a sentence with missing letters. In general,, you’ll get it right, but when you don’t, you may find yourself replying inappropriately or asking people to repeat themselves regularly. You may also experience difficulty hearing on the phone.
3. Difficulty hearing in loud settings
With mild hearing loss, you can typically decipher what others are saying, albeit with a lot of effort. Once background noise is presented, however, the task often becomes overwhelming.
You may discover that it’s overwhelming to hear in group settings or in noisy environments like at restaurants or social gatherings. The contending sounds and background noise are muffling your already affected hearing, making it extremely difficult to concentrate on any one source of sound.
4. Mental Fatigue
Finally, you may notice that you’re more fatigued than normal after work or after engagement in group settings. For individuals with hearing loss, the continual battle to hear, combined with the effort to understand incomplete sounds, can trigger extreme exhaustion, which is a non-obvious symptom of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is progressive and becomes more complicated to treat the longer you wait. If you have any of these symptoms, even if they’re only mild, we strongly encourage arranging a hearing test. By taking action earlier, you can preserve your hearing and stay connected to your loved ones.