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If you suffer from hearing loss, you might assume it would be obvious, right?

Actually, that’s precisely the problem; most people think it would. Unfortunately, even though severe or sudden hearing loss is easy to identify, mild to moderate developing hearing loss can be too subtle to observe. That’s the reason why, on average, people will wait five years or longer from the beginning of symptoms to seek out help.

Picture hearing loss as a gradual leak in a tire. It’s difficult to notice 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.

Unfortunately, whereas tires are replaceable, your hearing is not. It can be in some measure recovered, but the sooner you treat your hearing loss the more of your hearing you’ll recoup.

So how can you recognize the symptoms of early-stage hearing loss? Following are some of the hidden signs that suggest you should get a professional hearing test.

1. Trouble hearing particular sounds

Commonly people think that hearing loss affects all types of sounds. Therefore, if you can hear some sounds normally, you assume you can hear all sounds normally.

Don’t get caught up into this manner of reasoning. The fact is that hearing loss mostly impacts higher-frequency sounds. You might notice that you have particular difficulty hearing the voices of women and children, for instance, because of the higher pitch of their voices.

This may lead you to believe that the people you can’t hear are mumbling, when the fact is, you have high-frequency hearing loss.

2. Relying 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 have to depend on body language, and possibly lip reading, for extra information used to fill in the blanks.

Speech is composed of a wide range of frequencies, from low to high, with consonants representing the high frequencies and vowels representing the low frequencies. The issue for those with high-frequency hearing loss is that consonants present the the majority of the meaning yet are the most challenging to hear.

If you have hearing loss, speech comprehension is much like reading a sentence with missing letters. More often than not, you’ll get it right, but when you don’t, you may find yourself replying inappropriately or asking people to repeat themselves frequently. You might also have difficulties hearing on the phone.

3. Difficulty hearing in loud surroundings

With mild hearing loss, you can typically understand what other people are saying, albeit with a lot of effort. As soon as background noise is introduced, on the other hand, the task often becomes overwhelming.

You may discover that it’s difficult 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 compromised hearing, making it exceedingly difficult to focus on any one source of sound.

4. Listening Fatigue

Finally, you may observe that you’re more exhausted than normal after work or after engagement in group settings. For those with hearing loss, the continuous battle to hear, combined with the effort to comprehend incomplete sounds, can trigger serious exhaustion, which is a non-obvious symptom of hearing loss.

Hearing loss is progressive and ends up being more difficult to treat the longer you delay. If you have any of these signs and symptoms, even if they’re only minor, we strongly encourage arranging a hearing test. By taking action sooner, you can preserve your hearing and stay connected to your loved ones.