Hearing loss is one of the most common and easily treatable health problems, affecting 1 in 3 adults over age 60. But because it rarely develops overnight, we often fail to identify its symptoms until it’s already causing stress and pain. Learning about the common signs of hearing loss can help you ensure you don’t wait too long to seek treatment.
Common signs of hearing loss include:
- Experiencing muffled sounds
- Difficulty understanding speech in background noise.
- Missing consonant sounds, such as "ess" or "eff"
- Listening to television, radio, or computer audio at a higher volume than in the past
- Avoiding social situations
- Tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing in your ears
But what does that look like in real life?
Here's what we hear from real people about their hearing loss signs.
- My family doesn't think I pay attention. I'm always asking them to repeat what they've just said.
- It seems like everyone mumbles these days.
- Everyone complains the T.V. is on too loud when I watch it.
- I feel embarrassed when I have to talk to new people.
- I'm fine until we're someplace noisy, like a restaurant. I find myself sitting out of conversations or concentrating so hard I don't taste my food.
- There's a ringing in my ears that won't go away.
There are emotional signs of hearing loss, as well:
- Irritation, anger and frustration during conversations
- Frequent fatigue or bouts of depression after interaction
- Withdrawal from conversations, with a gradual decline in social attendance
- Expressed loneliness and isolation
- Steadily decreasing job performance
- Appearance of memory loss and lack of desire to try new things
When should I get my hearing tested?
Everyone misses pieces of conversation from time to time. But if you’re experiencing multiple symptoms of hearing loss, you can start by taking our free online hearing test to see whether you fall within the range of normal hearing.