A man is unable to hear or see and is surrounded by question marks.

It may seem like it would be obvious, but hearing loss will be slow, so how can one know they have it? There is no darting pain to serve as a warning signal. You do not lose consciousness or make additional trips to the restroom once it occurs, either. It is safe to say the signs of hearing loss are more subtle than other age-related illnesses like diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Even so, there are indications if you know what you’re looking for. It is a matter of paying attention to the way you hear and the impact any change might be having on your life. Consider the ways you can pinpoint hearing loss for you or somebody you love.

Your Conversations Change

The effect on socialization provides a number of the most telling indications. For instance, if the first thing out of your mouth through most discussions is “what?” That shows you aren’t comprehending words well. Questioning people you speak to repeat what they said is something they are very likely to detect before you do, too, so pay attention to how folks react to having a chat with you.

When speaking to a group of two or more people, you may have trouble following along. You are missing bits of what everyone says, thus you are not part of the conversation. You can’t ask everybody speaking to repeat themselves, either, so you only get lost. Over time, you avoid group discussions or stand there not understanding what’s said, because it’s just too confusing when you do.

The Noise Drowns Out Everything

If all you hear nowadays is background noise, then it is time to get a hearing test. This is a common symptom of hearing loss because you’re not able to filter out sounds like a fan blowing or an air conditioner running. It gets to the point at which you can not hear what folks are saying to you since it becomes lost in the background sound.

The TV Creeps Up and Up and Up

It’s simple to excuse the need to flip the TV volume up on this dying box because of a noisy room, but when it occurs every day, it’s probably an indication of gradual hearing loss. When everybody else begins telling you that you have the TV or computer volume up too high, you need to wonder why this really is, and, likely, come to terms with the fact that your hearing isn’t as good as it was at one time.

You End up Watching Their Lips

Lip reading is a compensation technique for missed words. Gradual hearing loss begins with the reduction of hard sounds. Words which contain certain letters will be incomplete. Your brain might automatically refocus your eyes on the person’s lips to fix the problem. Chances are you won’t even know you do it until someone tells you or unexpectedly seems uncomfortable when speaking to you.

Then There’s the Buzzing

The constant clicking or buzzing 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 phantom noises that just you hear. For some folks, they are just annoying, but for many others tinnitus is debilitating. If you have that, then you surely have hearing loss that you need to address.

Hearing problems aren’t always obvious to the person experiencing them, but it’s to others. Listen to what your family is telling you about your hearing. Consider, also, other medical problems that can contribute to the problem like high blood pressure or medication you have been prescribed that can harm your ears and find out if age-related hearing loss runs in your family.

It’s like assembling the puzzle pieces. If you do come to that decision, visit your doctor and get a professional hearing test for confirmation. Hearing loss isn’t the end of the world, but for many, it will imply it is time to consider hearing aids.