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You may think that hearing loss would be obvious to identify, but it’s not as straightforward to notice as you may think.

To begin with, many individuals with hearing loss have challenges only with specific sounds and in specified scenarios. So, if you can hear normally on some occasions, you’ll be inclined to pin the blame on other factors or other people for the times you do have trouble hearing.

Second, hearing loss comes about slowly and gradually through the years, so it’s challenging to detect the slow development. It’s faster and easier to pin the blame on other people for mumbling, or to turn up the TV volume a bit louder, than to confess that you may have hearing loss.

As a result, the signs and symptoms can be subtle. You need to know what to watch out for, and while it’s easy to reject that you have hearing loss, you should be honest with yourself about the warning signs.

Here are the top 10 to look out for. If you detect the presence of any, it may be time to set up a hearing test.

  1. You experience ringing or buzzing in the ears – this might be an indication of permanent hearing injury. Hearing aids can not only allow you to hear better, but they may also be able to lessen the ringing in your ears.
  2. You are not able to hear normal household sounds – hearing loss can make it difficult 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 frequently shows itself as difficulty following movie or TV show plots.
  4. You have your phone, TV, or radio at maximum volume – if you can hear the television, phone, or radio much better than you can hear face-to-face conversations, check the volume settings on your devices. You could have these devices set at elevated volumes while simultaneously believing that everyone else speaks too softly.
  5. You request that people repeat themselves often – 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 therefore more difficult to hear, than the lower-pitched vowels. Seeing that consonants transmit the majority of the meaning in a sentence, speech comprehension suffers.
  7. You have difficulty hearing all the words in a discussion – specific sounds and letters are more challenging to hear than others. What this means is you can hear most of the words in a sentence, but that you have to frequently 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 tips to meaning much more than you realize. When you’re not facing the speaker, and can’t use these cues, you may have difficulty comprehending speech.
  9. You have a hard time hearing with lots of background noise – as hearing loss gets to be worse, contesting noise becomes more of a challenge. You may manage to hear speech in quiet spaces, but it becomes increasingly difficult to follow discussions in a noisy setting like a restaurant.
  10. People say that you shout or have the TV volume too loud – people may notice that you have the TV volume too loud or that you have the proclivity to shout. It doesn’t feel 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, schedule your hearing test today, and take the steps to begin living an improved, more productive, and healthier life.