There's this common misconception that hearing loss affects only the elderly. But sadly, the opposite is true. While your chances for hearing issues increase as you grow older, hearing loss can affect both young and old people alike. Age-related hearing loss accounts for just around 35% of total hearing loss cases, while the rest are aged 64 and below. Just look at all of the famous musicians who suffered from hearing conditions even when they were still relatively young (and still in their prime).
The thing is, hearing loss creeps in slowly, and you wouldn't notice that you have the problem until it is too far gone and has started to negatively affect your life.
With that said, here are the some of the subtle telltale signs of early stage hearing loss. If you find that you suffer from most of these, you might want to get your ears checked out ASAP.
Consistent Buzzing and Ringing in the Ears
After listening to excessively loud music, you might hear a ringing or buzzing sound in your ears. This is usually temporary and would go away after a few minutes, but it is a clear sign that you do need to turn down the music or go somewhere quiet where your ears can rest.
However, if you find that you can still hear this ringing and buzzing even when the noise and music has died down, then it's a sign of hearing loss. The buzzing noise can be attributed to damaged nerves in your ear.
Difficulty Hearing Background Sounds
If everyday background noises (people talking in the office, a program on the television, etcetera) sound muffled or distorted (as if you're hearing them with something covering your ears) to you on a regular basis, then it's time to go to the doctor's and get your ears tested out.
Our sense of balance is linked to our ears. The body's balance system (three semicircular canals that contain fluid and other "sensors" that detect movement and body positioning) are located in the ears; inflicting damage to them means you’re also doing a lot of damage to your sense of balance too. There's also the fact that most people with hearing loss often spend a lot of effort on trying to hear things, that it takes their senses off away from other important functions- like being aware of one's surroundings, for example. So, stumbling a lot and bumping into things may not just be simple clumsiness alone, but a sign of serious hearing loss.
Having Trouble Following Conversations
One of the early signs of hearing loss is having trouble following conversations. You might ask people over and over to repeat what they've said and you're constantly saying and replying to them with "What?" This can get especially worse if you're in an area with a lot of background noise and chatter (like in a coffee shop or in an airport). Good ears can usually pick up on the sound that they want to hear amidst noise, but bad ears will have a lot of trouble deciphering sounds.