It’s a universal experience to hear ringing in your ears after a loud, sudden sound occurs near you. But what happens if your ears keep ringing long after the source of the sound goes quiet? In this instance, you may have permanently damaged your hearing. But it’s not just sharp noises that can make hearing harder. As people age, they naturally begin to lose the ability to hear things.

Here are some situations where people can recognize if they’re losing their hearing and if they need to do something about it.

Asking people to repeat words and speak slower. Do you find yourself frequently asking “Can you say that again please?” There are some people who mumble and speak softer than others. But if you find yourself consistently asking friends, family and colleagues to repeat what they said, it could be an early sign of hearing loss.

Inability to tell the difference between speech consonants. If you’re having trouble distinguishing between sounds like S and F or P and T, your hearing may be damaged,  according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Confusing SH and TH is another sign of potential hearing loss (i.e. hear “fifth” instead of “fish”).

Social events tire you out. Indulging in too many spirits and staying up late at a party can definitely leave you sore the next day. But what if you’re exhausted after attending a social event and you didn’t drink and left early? There’s a good chance you’re exhausted because your hearing is failing.

“When you can’t hear all the sounds of speech, your brain has to fill in the gaps to make sense of what others are saying,” reports WebMD. “That takes a great deal of focus, especially when there’s more than one person speaking at a time. All of this effort may leave you tired after social events.” Pay attention to your energy levels after social interactions.

You watch lips more than you hear. If you’ve ever watched a movie without sound, chances are you were able to figure out most of what the actors were saying by watching their lips. If you find yourself doing the same with people speaking directly to you, it may be time to see an audiologist. “When one sense doesn’t work as well as it used to, the brain tries to make up for it by using more of another sense – in this case, eyesight,” says WebMD.

You have difficulty hearing children. Kids’ voices are higher in pitch than adults, so those who have difficulty hearing high frequency noises may struggle when speaking to kids. You may also not be able to hear women’s voices and other high pitch noises like ringing phones. This too is a sign of failing hearing. “When aging takes a toll on your cochlea, the inner ear organ that helps you hear, the cells that detect high-pitched sounds are usually the first to fail,” says WebMD.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with you audiologist. Recognizing early signs of hearing loss gives you more time to consult with doctors and build a plan to compensate for hearing loss.

If you used 3M’s earplugs during military service from 2003 to 2015, you may be entitled to compensation.

You will not be charged a fee unless a recovery is made for you.

You may be entitled to compensation if you believe your hearing has been damaged while using 3M’s earplugs during your services. Call Ashley Spencer at (888)237-459 to see what the Spencer Law Firm can do for you. You can also visit us at or at our office at 4635 Southwest Freeway, Suite 900. You served admirably in the military – now let Spencer Law Firm serve you.