The symptoms of many physical conditions are obvious. Sore throat and runny nose? You’d think you have a cold. Can’t clearly see the words on a magazine or your phone? You’ll go get your eyes checked.
Hearing loss — the third most common physical condition in the world— isn’t usually as obvious. Much of that can be attributed to the gradual decline of hearing, which tends to creep up on us, often taking years before we’re ready to take action. Also hearing loss doesn’t usually hurt, cause a rash, or overtly impair us right away.
So, then, how do you know if you have hearing loss short of testing it? For this Better Hearing Month, we’ve compiled seven signs that people with hearing loss typically exhibit:
- You frequently ask others to repeat themselves — If you need to be looking at someone to hear what they say (by also reading their lips), your hearing might be fading.
- You turn the TV to a volume others find loud — When you can’t have a conversation because your TV is too loud, it’s time to get a hearing test.
- You have trouble understanding conversations in noisy places — This is one of the first challenges people with hearing loss encounter: tracking what someone else is saying in a noise-filled place, like a restaurant or local pub.
- You have difficulty hearing women and children’s voices — High-frequency hearing loss is super common — so it’s to be expected that high-frequency sounds become tough to hear.
- You feel like others are mumbling — If you have a 16-year old son like I do, you’ll swear that they are mumbling. It’s most likely half and half.
- You avoid social situations that were once enjoyable — People who can’t engage easily, feel left out of conversations, or who have bad experiences trying to hear in public spaces often decide it’s easier to decline invitations and stay at home. It doesn’t have to be this way.
- You are told by others that you have hearing loss — If more than one friend or family member questions your hearing acuity — in seriousness or jest — guess what? They could be onto something.