I was so concerned about my hearing lately and fed up with asking people to repeat themselves or giving up and smiling inanely after the third attempt to hear them, I actually bought ear drops to remove wax then when that didn't help, booked an appointment with my doctor to check whether I had an ear infection.
Turns out my tubes are clear as they can be so my difficulties could be down to simple ageing. It's so frustrating!
I find it particularly difficult to hear people talking in a noisy environment, especially when other people are talking. Since I love inviting people round for dinner (when it's legal to do so) not being able to hear half of the conversation is frustrating.
On the first day of the reintroduction of the Rule of 6 outdoors we gleefully headed up to our friends' garden for drinks round their fire pit on the patio. There were six of us, socially distanced, and I had to confess to our host that I was having trouble following the chats. She's also in her early 50's and I was actually relieved when she said she had noticed she was also having trouble with her hearing.
Luckily nowadays you don't have to suffer in silence (pun intended) as there are lots of options for enhancing your hearing.
Firstly however it's worthwhile ensuring your hearing loss is not caused by a build up of wax. Wx build up can obviously cause a loss of hearing but you might also experience buzzing or ringing in your ears. You might have earache or the sensation that your ears are blocked. You might even feel dizzy and sick.
The NHS website warns against trying to push cotton buds or other items in your ears in an attempt to clean them as this can actually make things worse. Their advice is to use ear drops which you can buy cheaply over the counter or 2 to 3 drops of slightly warmed (not hot!) olive oil in the affected ear and lie on your side to allow it to seep through to loosen the wax which will fall out on its own.
You can also consult hearing experts who offer a professional ear wax removal service. Be aware most NHS doctors no longer offer syringing or other ear wax removal services but there are private healthcare services who will help.
If your hearing loss persists it's time to get a check up with your doctor to ensure your recent hearing loss is not caused by an infection.
Next you need to arrange a hearing test. Some modern clinics even offer an online hearing test which is perfect to establish the level of your loss.
For a fully streamlined service look for a provider who offers a full service from test to after care. Ensure they offer different types of hearing aids so you can find a solution that really works for you.
Don't worry that wearing a hearing aid means you have to have a design which is very visible. If you have short hair or there are other reasons you would prefer to have an ultra-discreet model, there are plenty of different types hearing aids including some which are hidden in your ear canal.
My late Father-in-law used to turn down invitations to Sunday lunch and the like because he said he found busy events overwhelming when he couldn't hear properly. I never want to get to the point where I am missing out on life because of something which can be fixed relatively easily.