Why is it that so many people who seem to have trouble hearing don’t realize it? For most people, hearing changes very slowly, and the early stages of hearing loss go unnoticed. In fact, the person with the hearing loss is usually the last one to become aware of it.

No, it isn’t that the person is in denial. It seems that hearing loss can “sneak up” on someone, even when their family and friends have been aware of the hearing loss for some time. The nature of hearing loss can sometimes make it difficult to recognize. The unfortunate result is that many people put off getting help. There are several reasons that a hearing loss may go unnoticed.

Hearing changes gradually and slowly.

A loss of hearing can develop so slowly that it may remain unnoticed from year to year. Think of it like this: you don’t always notice your hair growing, until one day you suddenly realize it’s time for a haircut. Hearing loss might occur at the rate of one decibel a year. That’s a daily change of about .001 percent of your hearing. That’s such a small change, it’s no wonder it’s not noticeable! However, this small daily change can eventually lead to a significant hearing problem.

Hearing loss is painless.

Unlike many other medical problems, hearing loss is painless. It doesn’t “feel” like anything. No pinching, bruising, swelling feelings – nothing! Although other symptoms such as tinnitus (a ringing or buzzing sound in the ear) may accompany hearing loss, there is no pain or sensation that would alert someone to a change in hearing.

You can’t see a hearing loss.

You can’t see a hearing loss. Unlike a sprained ankle or a bruised shin, there is typically no visible component to hearing loss. You can’t detect hearing loss by just looking at someone. Even looking in their ear won’t help! In most cases, only an audiologic evaluation can determine the presence of a hearing loss.

Hearing loss is often partial.

It is common for a hearing loss to only affect certain frequencies. For example, someone with high-frequency hearing loss may easily understand a man’s voice, but have trouble understanding children’s voices. People with this type of hearing loss may also struggle to understand normal speech because they can have problems hearing consonant letters such as F, H, and S. This makes it difficult for them to realize they have a hearing loss, and often feel as though others may just be mumbling. Someone with early onset hearing loss may say, “I can hear people talking, but I just can’t understand them.”

An audiologist can detect a hearing loss.

There are many reasons why a hearing loss may go unnoticed, but we can help. The first step is not to get hearing aids, but to simply have a hearing evaluation. At Whisper Hearing Centers, you get a team of professionals that is completely dedicated to your hearing health. They are highly-trained and experienced in the testing, diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.