Woman suffering from hearing loss struggling to hear on the phone.

It’s not like you just wake up one morning, and your hearing is gone. Hearing loss comes gradually over time for most people, particularly when it comes to aging. Age-related hearing loss affects about one in three people in this country. Many of them are over the age of 75 before they recognize a change. Some symptoms show up earlier, though, and you may not realize there is a problem immediately.

The initial signs of gradual hearing loss are subtle. Recognizing them as soon as possible is essential to slow down the progression of hearing loss or other health problems related to hearing loss. You can’t recognize the signs if you don’t know what they are, though. You might have hearing loss if you have any of these eight barely noticeable signs.

1. Ringing in The Ears

This is a symptom that people have a tendency to ignore if it doesn’t get too distracting and it’s really not very subtle. Tinnitus, the medical name for the ringing, is a common symptom of hearing loss.

Triggers are a considerable factor with tinnitus so it can be sporadic, too. For instance, maybe the ringing, buzzing or roaring only happens in the morning or when you are tired.

It’s essential that you don’t neglect tinnitus because it is a symptom that something is going on with your body. It could be hearing loss, but it might also be a sign of high blood pressure, circulatory problems or trauma. If you want to know for sure, you will need to see your doctor.

2. You Hate Talking on The Phone

Here are some common excuses for phone issues:

  • My phone is damaged from being dropped.
  • It’s a new phone, and I’m just not used to it yet.
  • My phone is old.

If you hate using the phone think about the reasons why. Get someone you know to test the phone for you if the volume is all the way up and you still don’t hear it. If you can’t hear the conversation but they can then you have a hearing issue.

3. It Seems As if Everyone Mumbles Now

Lately, it’s not only the kids, but your neighbor, the news anchor, and even your spouse that have begun to mumble to you. Could it actually be possible that all of a sudden everyone in your life has poor enunciation.

The more likely answer is the way you hear words is changing. One of the initial indications that your hearing is changing is when talking sounds like mumbling and consonants like “S” and “T” drop off.

4. What Did You Say?

You may not even realize that you can’t hear conversations any more until somebody points out that you say “What? a lot. Usually, the first to recognize you have hearing loss are people you see every day like coworkers or family members. Pay attention if someone says something about it.

5. You Hear Some People Just Fine But Not Others

Perhaps when you are having a chat with your neighbor everything sounds fine but when his wife starts to talk you can’t understand a word. It’s a common symptom of sensorineural hearing loss or damage to the nerves that send electrical messages to the brain.

Her voice isn’t as clear because it’s higher pitched. You may have the same problem with your grandchild or daughter. Even when you are in normal situations, something as simple as trying to hear the sound of an alarm clock ar a microwave can make things difficult. Those tones are also high pitched.

6. Going Out Isn’t as Much Fun as it Once Was

Again, there are those mumbling people, and that’s not fun. Also, it’s much more difficult to understand what people are saying when it’s noisy. It becomes impossible to hear anything when you are at dinner and people start talking around you or the AC pops on.

7. You Never Used to Feel so Tired

It’s can be exhausting struggling to comprehend what people are saying. You are more exhausted than normal because your brain is working harder to manage what it hears. You might even notice changes in your other senses. If your brain is using 110 percent of its time and energy to comprehend words, what’s left for your eyesight or balance? If your last eye test was normal, then the next thing to get checked is your hearing.

8. You Can’t Hear The TV

It is easy to blame the TV or the service provider when you have to keep turning up the volume, but if this is happening all the time, maybe it’s time for a hearing test. When you have loss of hearing it can be hard to hear dialog. There is the background music confusing things, for example. How about the other sounds in the room like the AC or the ceiling fan? If the volume keeps going up, then your hearing could be faltering.

The good news is all it takes to know for sure is a professional hearing examination. If you find out your hearing is declining, hearing aids can get things back to normal.