The 4 early signs – sos that we suffer from vertigo and we don’t know it.

It can occur at any age. Audiologists share the red “lines” that urgently signal that we should check our ears as soon as possible

While we often believe that hearing loss is something that only happens to much older people, this is not actually true.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) in the United States, 1 in 8 people aged 12 and older has hearing loss in both ears, and approximately 28.8 million adults in the US could benefit from hearing aids. While difficulty in hearing may be the most obvious sign that we need to check our ears, it is not the only one.

We asked audiologists to share the main signs that it’s time to check our hearing. Here’s what they had to say:

Number 1: We struggle to follow conversations.

If we constantly find ourselves saying “what?” during conversations, it’s probably time to check our ears.

“Terry Zwolan, director of Audiology Access & Standard of Care for Cochlear Americas, says, ‘Making an effort to listen when we talk to others or to continue a conversation is very important. This may include struggling to hear when there is background noise and regularly asking people to repeat what they have said or often mishearing.'”

Number 2: We need to increase the volume of the sound on the television.

Whether others regularly tell us to turn down the volume of the television or we are surprised by the number we see on the volume control, this can be a sign that it’s time to check our hearing.

“We may find ourselves turning up the volume on the television or radio to a level louder than others prefer, or feel that people are mumbling (because of it),” he says.

Number 3: Our ears are ringing.

While ringing in the ears (or tinnitus) isn’t always a sign of hearing loss, it certainly can be at times. “Some people may experience persistent ‘ringing,’ buzzing, pain, or pressure in one or both ears,” says Zvolan. “Also, difficulties hearing from one ear may arise, it may be challenging to distinguish where sounds are coming from, or our own voice may sound different.”

Katie Campbell, an audiologist and Senior Director of Audiology at HearingLife Canada, emphasizes that experiencing symptoms like ringing in the ears is a good reason to consider getting a hearing test. “Ringing in the ears, or tinnitus, is usually associated with situations of hearing loss,” she states. “If it persists for an extended period, it’s a good idea to arrange for a hearing test.”

Number 4: We may struggle to hear the sounds of nature.

If we suddenly find it difficult to hear the sounds of nature, such as birds chirping or rainfall, this could be a red flag, according to Zvolan.