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Hearing loss affects millions of Americans and is much more common than many people assume. Due to its misunderstood nature, many forget to get regular hearing checkups, making it difficult for doctors to notice hearing damage in an easy to treat, timely fashion. Especially for those over sixty, frequent hearing tests are needed to keep your hearing sharp, and your ears protected from preventable gradual hearing damage. When looking to keep your ears safe, however, knowing where to start can be difficult. If you’re worried, start looking for these seven signs that you may have hearing loss:

1. A Ringing in the Ears

Almost everyone associates ear ringing with hearing loss and damage. Ringing ears occur when you’re in an environment where your ears are having a difficult time filtering the noise around you. A seeming lack of sound can begin to happen more often if you’re experiencing frequent ear-ringing. Due to this, many ear doctors see ear ringing as a subtle, early sign that you’re going through some level of hearing loss (whether it be minor or major).

2. Trouble Hearing Consonants

When your ears are not processing sound as sharply as they used to, consonants become one of the first verbal sounds to be significantly blurred in your mind. If these areas of your conversations are becoming bafflingly hard to grasp, you should immediately check in with your ear doctor. By staying up to date with keeping your hearing sharp, you’ll have healthier relationships with the people around you. Those that have suffered from hearing loss due to military operations, and were then diagnosed with hearing loss issues, may be able to join 3m combat arms earplugs litigation to ensure they receive the restitution they deserve.

3. More Frequent Instances of Needing to Turn Up Your Volume

Do you ever experience yourself having a hard time hearing your entertainment, and then find yourself noticing that your volume was already all the way up on your phone or another device? If this is happening, you might be listening to dangerous noise levels frequently enough to dull your hearing and make previous volume levels feel dampened. By avoiding the situations where you’re knowingly blasting music or noise in an unsafe manner, you’ll make this sign much less likely to appear. Especially when you’re driving in the car, you must stay mindful of how loud you have your radio turned up, as the loud noises within the compact environment can be particularly damaging to your hearing.

4. Difficulty Understanding Others’ Speech

Have you noticed yourself finding it hard to grasp the words of people on the phone or your television screen? Maybe real-life conversations are becoming more difficult for you to follow, despite feeling that your mind is as sharp as ever. Either way, this situation is a strong sign that you’re experiencing hearing loss, and that your body is not picking up certain levels of sound, causing it to improperly deliver information from your conversations to your brain. Staying on top of this step is one of the most important things when you want to regularly ascertain the nature of your hearing health.

5. Listening Fatigue

Not all hearing loss symptoms have to deal with the directness of what sounds your ears are processing. If your brain is having a hard time comprehending and filtering sounds, you may notice large levels of fatigue developing after long, complicated conversations. Many doctors refer to this as listening fatigue. If you find this phenomenon affecting you more and more, it is highly recommended that you set up a hearing test and check-up, as this will help you ensure major hearing loss is not occurring.

6. Frequently Avoiding Social Situations due to the Sound Level of an Environment

If you find yourself wanting to skip out on a night on the town, or a community event more often than you used to, fatigue and hearing loss could be to blame. Once again, your brain responds to sensory damage by demotivating you to enter situations that exacerbate these issues. Loud concerts are an especially notable location that people with untreated hearing damage find themselves wanting to avoid. By taking care of your ears and maintaining a healthy hearing ability, you’ll be able to lead your life more satisfyingly.

Protect Your Ears and Your Lifestyle

By protecting your hearing, you can healthily lead your ideal lifestyle for many, many more years. Those who experience hearing loss find themselves experiencing difficulty with daily activities, so avoiding a situation where you need to make this rough transition (for as long as humanly possible) is highly recommended.