How to know if you have hearing loss

Not sure if you have hearing loss? That’s not uncommon. Hearing loss symptoms are subtle and typically emerge slowly. It frequently takes years for people to realize they have hearing loss.

Also, we simply don’t test our hearing enough. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that “less than half of adults who reported trouble hearing had seen a healthcare provider for their hearing in the past five years.” Can you remember the last time you had your hearing tested?

There’s no reason we shouldn’t test our hearing more. There are quick, online hearing tests you can do for free. And many hearing healthcare professionals will also offer free hearing tests and evaluations (click here to find an authorized hearing professional near you).

But short of having your hearing tested, there are numerous signs that point to hearing loss. Here are 10 of the most common hearing loss symptoms.

  1. You ask people to repeat what they just said
    Asking for repetition occasionally is normal, especially if you weren’t paying attention, the speaker is talking from a distance, or their lips are covered. But if you are asking people to repeat themselves often, it may be a symptom of hearing loss.
  1. Everyone around you seems to mumble
    A common complaint of people who have hearing loss is that others aren’t speaking clearly. If you find yourself thinking people are mumbling and are hard to understand, that could be a sign of hearing loss.
  1. You struggle hearing in noise
    If you have trouble hearing in restaurants, group situations or at parties, this is a very common sign of hearing loss.
  1. You need to turn your TV up loud to hear it
    Do you argue with others about how loud your TV is? Do you need to mute it to have a conversation with the person next to you? Unless you’re listening from another room, odds are you have hearing loss.

Are you turning up the TV volume? This could be a sign of hearing loss.

  1. Hearing on the phone is difficult
    Depending on conditions (where you are, the connection quality, etc.) hearing on the phone can be challenging even for normal-hearing people. But if you feel like you cannot hear on the phone even when conditions are ideal, this may be a symptom of hearing loss.
  1. People have said something to you
    Often times, friends and loved ones notice our hearing loss first. So If folks close to you are commenting that you aren’t hearing well, it’s probably worth looking into.
  1. You fatigue easily after long periods of listening
    People with hearing loss have to exert extra energy to focus on and follow conversations, which can lead to mental fatigue. If you find yourself struggling to follow long periods of listening, you may be dealing with hearing loss.
  1. You avoid social engagements and activities
    Social isolation is a real consequence of hearing loss, as many people who struggle to hear choose to avoid events and activities where hearing clearly is important.
  1. You misunderstand what people say
    Hearing or responding to something incorrectly can be more embarrassing than not hearing it at all. For example, mixing up words such as rose for road, wife for white, or if you’re missing important intonations. If that’s happened to you, it’s wise to test your hearing.
  1. Your family has a history of hearing loss
    If your family has a history of age-related hearing loss, chances are you’ll have hearing loss at some point, too.

If you do have any of these hearing loss signs and want to confirm it, we recommend you take our free online hearing test, or — better yet — visit a local hearing professional for a thorough evaluation and test before it has a chance to negatively impact your quality of life. You can find one here.


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By Starkey Hearing