The last time you ate dinner with family, you were quite aggravated. It wasn’t because of family crisis (this time). No, the problem was that you couldn’t hear a thing over the loud noise of the room. So you didn’t hear the details about Nancy’s promotion, and you didn’t have the ability to ask about Todd’s new puppy. And that was really annoying. Mostly, you blame the acoustics. But you have to acknowledge that it might be an issue with your hearing.
It’s not generally suggested to self diagnose hearing loss because it’s truly challenging to do. But you should keep your eye out for certain warnings. When enough red flags show up, it’s time to call us for a hearing exam.
Early signs of hearing loss
The majority of the symptoms of hearing loss are subtle. But if you happen to see your own situation reflected in any of the items on this list, you just might be experiencing some degree of hearing loss.
Here are some of the most prevalent early signs of hearing loss:
- Somebody observes that the volume on your media devices gets louder and louder. Maybe the volume on your mobile phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or maybe, you have your TV volume cranked up to max. Usually, it’s a family member or a friend that notices the loud volumes.
- You discover it’s hard to understand particular words. This symptom takes place when consonants become hard to hear and distinguish. Usually, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are muffled. But another common example is when the “s” and “f” sounds become confused.
- High-pitched sounds are hard to hear. Perhaps you just noticed your teapot was whistling after five minutes. Or perhaps the doorbell rings, and you never notice it. Early hearing loss is typically most obvious in specific (and often high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
- It’s suddenly very hard to understand phone calls: Texting is popular nowadays, so you might not talk on the phone as much as you used to. But you may be experiencing another early warning sign if you’re having difficulty understanding the calls you do take.
- You keep requesting that people repeat themselves. This is especially true if you’re asking multiple people to slow down, say something again, or speak up. This early sign of hearing loss may be occurring without you even noticing.
- Normal sounds seem oppressively loud. You may or may not experience this but if you do, be aware that it can be an early warning of hearing loss. If you are having this problem, particularly if it lingers, it’s time for a hearing exam.
- You have a difficult time following conversations in a crowded or noisy location. This is precisely what happened during the “family dinner” example above, and it’s frequently an early indication of trouble with hearing.
- Your ears are ringing: Ringing in your ears is called tinnitus (and, technically, tinnitus can be other noises as well: screeching, buzzing, humming, thumping, and so on). Tinnitus isn’t always linked to hearing issues, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is probably needed.
Next up: Take a exam
You might have one or more of these early warnings but the only real way to determine the health of your hearing is to get a hearing exam.
Generally speaking, any single one of these early warning signs could indicate that you’re developing some type of hearing loss. And if any impairment exists, a hearing evaluation will be able to tell you how bad it is. And then you’ll be better prepared to determine the best treatment.
This means your next family gathering can be much more fun.