Hearing loss can be a very gradual process, or the result of sudden loud noises. You may be experiencing hearing loss in obvious ways: for example, you may find it difficult to follow conversations with people, especially in public places where many multiple conversations are taking place or in places where there is music playing. If you are experiencing hearing loss, you may find yourself wanting to avoid social situations altogether, or that it frustrating, sad, or disappointing to not feel like you can participate fully at social events. At work, you may find you are less confident about answering the phone or speaking up in meetings because you are afraid of talking too loudly or too softly.
There are other sometimes subtler signs of hearing loss as well. These can include a persistent ringing in the ears, which is called tinnitus. You may find yourself frequently asking people to repeat themselves or turning the television on to a very high volume. If you are experiencing hearing loss, you may have ability to hear a conversation but find it quite difficult to make out the distinct words people are saying. These are all some signs of hearing loss—but you should always consult a hearing health professional before determining whether or not this is the case, and to plan next steps.