If you have hearing loss, you would imagine it would be obvious, right?
Well, that’s exactly the issue; many people assume it would. However, although severe or abrupt hearing loss is easy to identify, mild to moderate gradual hearing loss can be far too subtle to observe. That’s the reason why, on average, people will wait more than five years from the beginning of symptoms to seek help.
Imagine hearing loss as a gradual leak in a tire. It’s challenging to detect the day-to-day changes, and it’s only when the tire goes flat, and your car is no longer drivable, that you decide to act.
Regrettably, whereas tires are replaceable, your hearing is not. It can be to a degree restored, but the earlier you deal with your hearing loss the more of your hearing you’ll recover.
So how can you identify the signs and symptoms of early-stage hearing loss? Here are some of the hidden signs that suggest you should get a hearing assessment.
1. Difficulties hearing certain sounds
Frequently people assume that hearing loss impacts all types of sounds. So, if you can hear some sounds normally, you assume you can hear all sounds normally.
Don’t get trapped into this manner of reasoning. The truth is that hearing loss predominately affects higher-frequency sounds. You might notice that you have particular difficulty hearing the voices of women and children, for instance, owing to the higher pitch.
This may possibly lead you to believe that the people you can’t hear are mumbling, when the truth is, you have high-frequency hearing loss.
2. Depending on context to comprehend speech
Somebody is speaking from behind you and you can’t comprehend what they’re saying unless you turn around. You are forced to rely on body language, and possibly lip reading, for additional information to fill in the blanks.
Speech is composed of an array of frequencies, from low to high, with consonants representing the higher frequencies and vowels representing the lower frequencies. The problem for those with high-frequency hearing loss is that consonants impart the the majority of the meaning yet are the most difficult to hear.
If you have hearing loss, speech comprehension is similar to reading a sentence with missing letters. More often than not, you’ll get it right, but when you don’t, you may discover yourself replying inappropriately or asking people to repeat themselves constantly. You might also have difficulty hearing on the phone.
3. Difficulty hearing in loud settings
With mild hearing loss, you can normally decipher what other people are saying, albeit with lots of effort. Once background noise is introduced, on the other hand, the task often becomes overwhelming.
You may find that it’s difficult to hear in group settings or in loud environments like at restaurants or social gatherings. The competing sounds and background noise are muffling your already affected hearing, making it exceptionally difficult to focus on any single source of sound.
4. Listening Fatigue
Finally, you may notice that you’re more fatigued than normal after work or after participation in group settings. For those with hearing loss, the constant fight to hear, combined with the effort to grasp incomplete sounds, can result in extreme exhaustion, which is a non-obvious symptom of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is gradual and ends up being more difficult to treat the longer you delay. If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, even if they’re only minor, we strongly suggest arranging a hearing test. By taking action earlier, you can preserve your hearing and stay connected to your family and friends.