Hearing loss, like many conditions, is hard to detect. It can creep up on you slowly but surely, and if you’re not paying attention, it can go unnoticed until you experience hearing loss. At this point, it could be more difficult to reverse the effects.
The World Health Organization estimates that over 430 million people are living with some degree of hearing loss. That number is expected to rise to 700 million by the year 2050. It can affect anyone at any age. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of the various symptoms of hearing loss early so you can seek out appropriate treatment before it becomes too late.
To get started, click here to check the Hearing Test to see if you may be suffering from hearing loss. If you notice signs of hearing loss in yourself or someone you love, here are 7 symptoms to look out for.
1. Ringing in Ears
If your ears are ringing for a day or two after a concert or similar event, you could be experiencing temporary hearing loss. This is due to damage to the tiny hairs in your inner ear.
These hairs are responsible for changing the signals sent to the brain that control your hearing. When the ears are subjected to loud sounds for prolonged periods, such as loud music, traffic, or construction, damage can occur.
It can also make hearing problems worse if the cause is constant over-activity in the middle ear. In either case, over-activity can be disabling. If you are exposed to loud music once or twice, the effect is negligible, but prolonged exposure is a factor that could adversely affect hearing loss in the long run.
2. Constant Headaches
If you’re constantly having headaches or extreme sensitivity to sound, then it’s time to get your hearing checked out.
It’s easy to ignore a headache because most times, you don’t think it could be due to a hearing loss issue. Furthermore, headaches can indicate an underlying problem that’s unrelated to hearing loss. However, it’s best to rule out this symptom by taking a hearing test and ensuring it’s not something serious. The longer you ignore it, the serious it becomes.
3. Difficulty in Understanding Conversation
If you have a hard time hearing what someone is saying when you are speaking to someone else, it’s because subconsciously, your brain knows to pay attention to areas that hold greater importance. It’s able to pick sounds and interpret them quickly. With hearing loss, that function is impaired.
When you experience hearing loss, it may be hard to understand what your friends are talking about. It becomes even harder when two people are talking at the same time. You end up missing vital parts of the conversation, and you feel lost, which can be frustrating.
When it gets to this point, it’s time to try an online hearing test or visit a hearing specialist.
4. Feel Like People Are Mumbling or Speaking Softly
If you are constantly telling your friends or loved ones to speak up or repeat what they just said, then you could be suffering from some form of hearing loss.
When people are talking, you should be able to hear clearly what they are saying. Hearing means you can process information more easily without your brain struggling to piece up what the other person is saying.
If you notice such instances, it is best to have your ears checked by an audiologist to assess if it’s a mild or moderate hearing loss problem.
5. Hard to Follow What’s Being Said in a Movie or Show
If you watch a movie or TV show and can’t understand what’s being said, you could be suffering from hearing loss. You find yourself relying on the subtitles or adding the volume to enjoy the show like other ordinary people. This could be a sign that you are suffering from mild or moderate hearing loss.
In addition to sight, the brain relies on hearing to process and retain information. When you have a hard time understanding what your favorite TV characters are saying, that should signal it’s time to schedule an appointment with an audiologist.
6. Confusion in a Noisy Environment
Your ears can tell the difference between soft-spoken dialogue and a loud conversation.
In a noisy environment, it’s easy for the brain to get confused because there is a pattern in how the brain receives and processes information.
Studies show that prolonged exposure to noise can lead to impairment of brain function and signals. It can also lead to irritability, fatigue, and stress. That’s why when you’re in a noisy environment, you always feel tired; the brain has to work twice as hard to concentrate.
If possible, avoid noisy places as much as you can. Gauge if you can notice a difference in understanding what people say and your speech delivery. Then assess if you will need to see an auditory care specialist.
7. Suffer From Short Memory
Hearing is an active brain activity. When you suffer from hearing loss, the brain is focused on understanding what the other person is saying and less on storing the information.
That’s why it’s difficult to remember the details of the conversation because the information is not there and cannot be retrieved. This is known as cognitive overload and is why people often forget what they say in a conversation.
Sometimes, it’s not because you’ve forgotten what’s been said, but because your brain didn’t manage to store the information in the first place. If it seems that you tend to forget things more easily when talking to friends, you may need to visit an audiologist to have them checked out.
Hearing loss doesn’t have to be a lifelong condition. This article has highlighted seven symptoms of hearing loss and how to detect it early.