Hearing loss can sometimes be a slow, gradual process. As such, it can be easy to ignore symptoms, even when they become severe. You could blame hearing loss on “old age,” but doing so could lead to problems further down the line as well as preventing you from getting the assistance you need right now to improve your quality of life.

So what are the four hearing loss signs that you shouldn’t ignore? Let’s take a look.

You find yourself withdrawing from social situations

Human beings are social animals. We depend on other people not only for support, but also joy, satisfaction, and contentment in life. When we are isolated, we are unhappy. What’s more, research suggests that being alone for long periods is actively harmful to your health, bumping up your chances of getting sick or dying.

So with that in mind, it’s crucial that hearing loss doesn’t become a cause of isolation. According to Craig Newman, the Vice Chair of the Head of Allied, Hearing, Speech and Balance Services at the Cleveland Clinic, some people can withdraw from social situations to avoid having to deal with hearing loss issues while socializing, potentially leading to depression.

You have to turn up the volume higher

Do you frequently find yourself adjusting the volume on your stereo or television? Needing to turn up the volume could be a sign that you’ve developed hearing loss.

Try, if you can, to pay attention to the volume setting on your device. Track changes over time to see whether you have to increase the volume to get the same audible experience.

Other people tell you to lower your voice

People depend on being able to hear the loudness of their own voices to modulate volume. When they can’t, they tend to speak louder and louder.

If other people tell you that you’re speaking too loud, it could be an indication that you’ve developed hearing loss. Your ears can no longer pick up sounds from your voice as sensitively, causing you to speak louder and louder inadvertently.

You may also notice that you’ve developed discomfort in your voice box. Vocal strain can result from speaking at high volumes for long periods, especially if you are not used to it.

Other people struggle to gain your attention

Other people will assume that your ability to hear is as good as theirs. As a result, they will attempt to gain your attention in ways that they perceive as perfectly reasonable. However, if you have hearing loss, you may not be able to hear what they’re saying or react to them.

Not being able to hear people when they’re trying to get your attention could be dangerous. Somebody might want to warn you about oncoming traffic or a fire. If you cannot hear them, you cannot take action.

You may notice that the problem is worse when your mind is focused on another task, like the washing up. Speak to your audiologist about a hearing aid today if you notice that you don't detect sounds when you're distracted.