Many people have no idea that they are struggling to hear until it is pointed out to them by a friend or family member. Conditions of the auditory system can come on gradually, so it can be difficult to recognize the problem yourself.

So how do you know when it is time to see an audiologist? Here are common symptoms to watch out for.

You don’t like talking on the phone

The phone is an ideal way to stay in touch with people but if your hearing is not what it was then trying to hold a conversation on the phone can quickly become very frustrating. In most social situations, you will also have body language and some basic lipreading to guide you through the conversation but over the phone, you are relying on a single sense. The phone can be the first sign of difficulty.

Conversation requires concentration

Many people don’t realize that they are dropping out of conversations more and more and you might find yourself making excuses like ‘I wasn’t that interested’ or ‘I just didn’t have anything to say’. But the truth is that you didn’t hear a key piece of information a while back or maybe you are sat in a group and can’t quite follow the subject as it bounces around between different people. This is a very common issue, especially for older people and it would be a shame to let this get in the way of an otherwise great social life.

Delayed responses

Another similar sign is that you are often delayed in responding to people when they ask you questions. This is usually because your brain is having to work extra hard to figure out what it has missed in order to come up with a suitable response. People with hearing loss may find that they are always the last to get the joke or that their responses are met with confusion because they have answered a completely different question.

The volume is always too low

It is very easy to turn the volume up on the TV or radio but you might not realize just how loud you are blasting the set. Often, family or friends will be the first to notice that you are struggling to hear the TV because to them, the sound is almost painful! When you notice your friends and family complaining about volume, it’s time to go to your audiologist for a checkup.

Your ears are ringing all the time

One final sign that it’s time to see an audiologist is the constant ringing in your ears. Though your ears might ring after a loud night out or a sudden loud noise, if they ring continuously for more than a day, you should get checked out for signs of tinnitus. This is a very common condition and though there is no cure at present, there are various therapies that can mitigate the symptoms.