Does it seem as if everyone you know has suddenly started mumbling? The problem may actually be due to a hearing issue. Hearing loss often has subtle symptoms that may not be easy to recognize. The Columbia, SC, doctors at South Carolina ENT share information on a few signs that may indicate that it's time to get your hearing checked by an audiologist.

You frequently ask people to repeat themselves

If it suddenly seems as if the people you know barely speak above a whisper these days, hearing loss may be to blame for the decrease in volume. The problem can occur due to aging, damage to the hair cells in your inner ear, medication side effects or exposure to very loud noises.

You've given up on participating in conversations

Do you find yourself sitting silently while everyone else is conversing around you? When you can't hear every word spoken, it's impossible to keep up with the conversation.

Your family complains that the TV or radio is too loud

Although some people are very sensitive to loud noises, complaints about volume shouldn't automatically be dismissed, especially if there were no complaints in the past. If you've experienced a hearing loss, you won't realize how loud the TV or radio sounds to other people. When several people complain about the volume, but you think it's fine, it's a good idea to schedule a hearing test.

Telephone calls are frustrating

Connection issues may not be the reason that you have trouble hearing the other person during a phone call. Hearing loss can make it very difficult to use the phone.

You've stopped going to the movies

Since most movies are incredibly loud these days, you might think going to the movies wouldn't be a problem. Unfortunately, sometimes a hearing loss can make it difficult to hear the dialogue over background music or noises in the theater.

Life has gotten more difficult

Have you failed to complete a task at work because you didn't hear your supervisor's request? Does your spouse or significant other complain that you don't listen to him or her? If you seem to be involved in more conflicts because people claim you don't pay attention, the issue may be your hearing.

Are you concerned about your hearing? Schedule a test with an audiologist to find out if you suffer from hearing loss. Call South Carolina ENT in Columbia, SC, to make your appointment.