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

It’s not as if you just wake up one day, and your hearing is gone. For most people, loss of hearing comes in degrees, especially when it comes to aging. Age-related hearing loss affects about one in three people in this country. Often, the change isn’t even noticed until after the age of 75. Some signs show up earlier, though, and you don’t realize there is an issue right away.

Early hearing loss has gradual and subtle signs. 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 identify the signs if you don’t know what they are, though. Consider these eight barely noticeable indicators that you may have hearing loss.

1. Ears Ringing

Okay, this isn’t exactly a subtle sign, but it is something people tend to ignore unless it’s disruptive. The medical name for this ringing is tinnitus, a typical sign of hearing loss.

The ringing can be intermittent and only act up when triggered. For example, perhaps the ringing, buzzing or roaring only happens in the morning or when you are tired.

Tinnitus is an indicator that something else is happening with your body so it should never be neglected. It could be hearing loss, but it may also be a sign of high blood pressure, circulatory problems or trauma. If you want to know for certain, you will need to see your doctor.

2. Talking on The Phone is Stressful

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 out dated.

If you hate using the phone consider the reasons why. If you turn the volume all the way up and can’t understand what is being said, let a friend test the phone for you. If they can hear the conversation and you can’t, your hearing is the problem.

3. These Days it Seems As if Everyone Mumbles

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

It’s much more likely that you might not be hearing words in the same way. Mumbling or dropped off consonants such as “S” or “T” is one of the first indications that your hearing is changing.

4. What?

You may not even recognize that you can’t hear conversations any more until someone points out that you say “What? a lot. Very often, the people you see every day like coworkers or family are the first to recognize you are having difficulties hearing. Pay attention if someone comments on 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 make out a word. It’s a common sign of sensorineural hearing loss or damage to the nerves that send electrical messages to the brain.

Her voice is higher pitched, and that’s why it’s not as clear. You might have the same issue with your grandchild or daughter. Even when you are in common situations, something as basic as trying to hear the sound of an alarm clock ar a microwave can make things difficult. Those sounds are also high pitched.

6. Going Out Used to be a Lot More Fun

Again, there are those people who mumble, and that’s not fun. Also, it’s much harder to comprehend what people are saying when it’s noisy. It becomes impossible to hear anything when you are at dinner and people start chatting around you or the AC pops on.

7. You Never Used to Feel so Tired

Struggling to comprehend words is fatiguing. Your brain has to work overtime to process what it does hear, so you are more exhausted than normal. Your other senses may also undergo changes. If your brain is using 110 percent of its time and energy to understand words, what’s left for your eyesight or balance? It’s time to have your ears tested if your eye exam came back normal.

8. That Dang TV

It’s easy to blame the TV or the service provider when you have to keep cranking up the volume, but if this is happening all the time, maybe it’s time for a hearing exam. It can be difficult to follow people talking on TV shows when you suffer from hearing loss. There is the background music confusing things, for example. And don’t forget about the AC, ceiling fan or other things in the room. If the volume keeps going up, then your hearing could be faltering.

A professional hearing exam will tell you for sure and that’s the good news. If it turns out you have a hearing problem, hearing aids will get things back to normal.