Posted by: Maryland ENT in News

Do you struggle to hear when you’re talking on the phone? Do you find it challenging to pick up conversations when you’re in a group setting?

These are two common signs that go along with experiencing hearing loss. Hearing loss occurs when you can’t hear sound completely or partially in one or both ears.

It’s also a lot more common than you think, and it can happen to anyone. Today, over 40 million adults in the U.S. have some degree of hearing loss.

Because the onset of hearing loss is more often slow, and the early symptoms are mostly subtle, you might not realize you’re losing your hearing. Unsurprisingly, loved ones and co-workers can misunderstand the signs of hearing loss.

When you don’t respond to what they’re saying, or you’re unable to answer immediately, they might misinterpret things and think you’re not interested or not paying attention to the conversation. If you’re still not concerned about constantly mishearing others and possible hearing loss, here are signs that you may have a hearing problem and not even know it.

1.    You Have Listening Fatigue

Did you know that hearing loss can cause you to become fatigued after conversations? Straining to hear properly drains the energy out of you.

Additionally, when you have trouble hearing, your brain works harder to interpret the information transmitted from the inner ear. Trying to do this leaves you physically and mentally exhausted at the end of the day.

2.    You Experience Ringing in Your Ears

Another common sign of hearing loss is a persistent buzzing in your ear that only you can hear, a condition referred to as tinnitus. Having tinnitus is also closely linked to having hearing loss. 90% of people with tinnitus also have hearing loss.

3.    Watching TV and Listening to the Radio is a Struggle

Have you noticed that you always crank up the volume to the point everyone around you complains about loud noise? When your hearing starts to worsen, one of the first things you may lose is your ability to hear high-frequency sounds.

Not hearing high pitches can lead to gaps when listening to the television or radio, causing you to turn up the volume. While some individuals tend to have more sensitive hearing, you should visit an ENT specialist for hearing testing if you hear the same thing from many people

4.    You Have a Hard Time Following Conversations

If you find yourself asking “what?”  when you’re trying to follow conversations, it can be an indication of hearing loss. A tell-tale sign of loss of hearing is asking someone to repeat themselves time and again.

When you start losing your ability to hear, it may sound like everyone’s mumbling or everything’s muffled. It becomes even more challenging to hear the high-pitched voices of women and children.

Consequently, you’ll find that you misunderstand others. It may start feeling like you’re miscommunicating with everyone around you or like nobody can understand you anymore. You may grow frustrated or notice that friends and family seem more annoyed with you as well.

5.    You Prefer Staying Away from Social Gatherings

Social situations and settings are less enjoyable when you have hearing loss. It can be challenging to talk to other people and understand what they’re saying over competing voices or music.

It can be disheartening to watch everyone else enjoy themselves and not join in on the fun because you can’t make out what others have to say. Due to this, you may start avoiding situations where you can’t hear well to make sure you won’t have to feel embarrassed or demoralized about your inability to hear.

Ultimately, going to social events or hanging out with friends and colleagues becomes something you no longer look forward to doing. As a result, you may start isolating yourself from others.

But even worse, social withdrawal and isolation can lead to depression symptoms with time, reducing your quality of life.

6.    You Have Difficulty Hearing in Noisy Places

When hearing loss sets in, it becomes increasingly difficult to follow conversations in places with plenty of background noise, like in a restaurant or at a party, where many people are talking.

7.    You No Longer Hear Everyday Sounds

Do you remember the last time you heard birds tweeting outside your window or traffic down the street? Can you recall being woken up by your alarm clock?

If you can’t, it doesn’t mean everything around you is quiet. Instead, hearing loss could be to blame. These are common warning signs and indications that it’s time to get your hearing checked.

8.    Lately, You Don’t Feel Like Yourself

Maybe you feel dizzy and fall quite often. Perhaps you’re constantly distracted in conversations.

Or maybe you’re feeling down, more anxious, worried, stressed, or angrier than usual. These are some of the issues that poor hearing can cause.

Trying to have a conversation with another person can fill you with dread that you’ll let on you’re struggling to hear. Hearing loss also triggers emotional and mental effects like anxiety, fear, low self-esteem, anger, and denial.

What’s more, it can interfere with your balance. Even though it’s relatively common to have dizzy spells once in a while, loss of balance is also associated with hearing problems.

Get the Help You Need for Your Hearing Loss

It’s vital to see a hearing care expert as soon as possible instead of ignoring your symptoms. Your brain tends to forget how to make sense of some sounds, which can worsen your hearing loss.

Do you suspect you’re losing your hearing? Schedule an appointment at Maryland ENT in Baltimore, MD, to find out more about how to treat hearing loss and get your life back on track!