Many changes in life happen gradually. You might not notice graying hair or enhanced smile lines until you see older and new photographs side-by-side. The same is true with hearing loss, which often is a part of aging.

Gilliam Hearing Center, a local third-generation business, offers free hearing screenings and a wide variety of hearing aids and accessories. Here are five signs of early hearing loss that might mean it's time for one of those hearing screenings:

1) You find yourself watching people's lips when they're talking. Or, you may notice that you're not making eye contact with people while they're talking, according to WebMD. "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," the article explains.

2) Visitors turn down the volume on your TV or complain that it's loud. You probably gradually turned up the volume on your television, but others' reactions might reveal a hearing loss issue, the WebMD article states.

3) You struggle with conversations in noisy restaurants, stores and other crowded public spaces. "The background noise at malls and restaurants is generally low-pitched, while many letters in speech, such as “f” and “s,” are high-pitched," according to the WebMD article. "If you have trouble hearing the high tones, you will hear the noise better than the speech of people around you."

4) You are surrounded by soft-speakers. If you tend to think others are speaking softly or mumbling, it might be a reflection of how you're hearing them, according to Harvard Health Letter. You might also frequently ask others to repeat themselves.

5) You have trouble hearing the microwave beep or young children talking. "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," according to WebMD.

If you ignore the early signs of hearing loss, you are more vulnerable to social isolation and depression. But the experts at Gilliam Hearing Center offer in-depth and accurate hearing testing, video otoscopy, computerized hearing aid analyses and more. They encourage all their clients to be open about their communication issues and goals, so they can help them find the best solutions.

To learn more or schedule your free hearing screening, visit or call (844) 868-4327. Be sure to ask about their latest specials!