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If you have hearing loss, you would think it would be obvious, right?

Actually, that’s precisely the problem; most people presume it would. Unfortunately, although severe or abrupt hearing loss is easy to detect, mild to moderate developing hearing loss can be too subtle to notice. That’s why, on average, people will wait five years or longer from the onset of symptoms to seek help.

Think of hearing loss as a gradual leak in a tire. It’s challenging to notice the daily changes, and it’s only when the tire goes flat, and your car is no longer drivable, that you choose to act.

Regrettably, while tires are replaceable, your hearing is not. It can be to a degree recovered, but the earlier you deal with your hearing loss the more of your hearing you’ll regain.

So how can you recognize the symptoms of early-stage hearing loss? Following are several of the hidden signs that suggest you should get a hearing assessment.

1. Trouble hearing certain sounds

Commonly people think that hearing loss impacts all types of sounds. Therefore, if you can hear some sounds normally, you believe you can hear all sounds normally.

Do not get stuck into this mode of reasoning. The fact is that hearing loss predominantly impacts higher-frequency sounds. You may discover that you have particular difficulty hearing the voices of women and children, as an example, because of the higher pitch of their voices.

This may lead you to believe that the individuals you can’t hear are mumbling, when in reality, you have high-frequency hearing loss.

2. Relying on context to understand

Somebody is speaking from behind you and you can’t comprehend what they’re saying unless you turn around and face them. You are forced to rely on body language, and possibly lip reading, for additional information to fill in the blanks.

Speech is comprised of a wide range of frequencies, from low to high, with consonants representing the high frequencies and vowels representing the lower frequencies. The problem for those with high-frequency hearing loss is that consonants express the most meaning yet are the most challenging to hear.

If you have hearing loss, speech comprehension is similar to reading a sentence with missing letters. Normally, you’ll get it right, but when you don’t, you may find yourself responding inappropriately or asking people to repeat themselves constantly. You may also have difficulty hearing on the phone.

3. Difficulty hearing in loud environments

With mild hearing loss, you can typically decode what other people are saying, albeit with a lot of effort. Once background noise is introduced, on the other hand, the task usually becomes overwhelming.

You may discover that it’s difficult to hear in group settings or in loud environments like restaurants or social gatherings. The contending sounds and background noise are muffling your already compromised hearing, making it incredibly difficult to focus on any single source of sound.

4. Listening Fatigue

Last, you may notice that you’re more tired than normal after work or after engagement in group settings. For individuals with hearing loss, the persistent struggle to hear, together with the effort to grasp incomplete sounds, can trigger serious exhaustion, which is a non-obvious sign of hearing loss.

Hearing loss is progressive and ends up being more difficult to treat the longer you wait. If you have any of these symptoms, even if they’re only minor, we strongly suggest scheduling a hearing test. By taking action earlier, you can preserve your hearing and stay connected to your family and friends.