The last time you ate dinner with your family was a difficult experience. It wasn’t because your family was having a tough time getting along. No, the source of the frustration was simple: it was loud, and you couldn’t hear a thing. So you didn’t get the details about Judy’s promotion, and you didn’t have an opportunity to ask about Jay’s new puppy. It was frustrating. For the most part, you blame the acoustics. But you’re also willing to accept that your hearing might be starting to wane.
It isn’t typically advisable to try to self diagnose hearing loss because it generally isn’t possible. But there are a few early warning signs you should keep on your radar. When enough of these red flags surface, it’s worth scheduling an appointment to get checked by a hearing specialist.
Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs
Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is obvious. But you could be going through some level of hearing loss if you find yourself noticing some of these signs.
Some of the most prevalent early signs of bad hearing might include:
- You experience some that your ears are ringing: This ringing, which can also be the sound of thumping, screeching, buzzing, or other sounds, is technically named tinnitus. Tinnitus is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, but not always so if you have a ringing in your ears, a hearing test is most likely in order.
- Phone calls suddenly seem muffled and difficult to comprehend: People do a lot of texting nowadays, so you may not take as many phone calls as you once did. But if you’re having problems comprehending the phone calls you do receive (even with the volume cranked all the way up), you may be confronting another red flag for your hearing.
- You notice that some sounds become intolerably loud. It’s one of the more uncommon early warning signs related to hearing loss, but hyperacusis is common enough that you may find yourself experiencing its symptoms. It can be an early sign of hearing loss if certain sounds seem really loud particularly if it lasts for an extended period of time.
- Certain words seem harder to hear than others. This red flag frequently appears because consonants are beginning to sound similar, or, at least, becoming harder to differentiate. The th- and sh- sounds are very commonly muffled. At times, it’s the s- and f-sounds or p- and t-sounds that become conflated.
- Someone notices that the volume on your media devices is getting louder and louder. Maybe you keep turning up the volume on your mobile device. Possibly it’s your TV that’s at max volume. Usually, it’s a friend, neighbor, or a member of your family that makes you recognize the increasing volumes.
- You frequently need people to repeat what they said. If you find yourself continually asking people to speak up, repeat themselves, or slow down when they speak, this is especially true. You may not even recognize you’re making such regular requests, but it can certainly be an early sign of diminishing hearing.
- When you’re in a loud crowded place, conversations often get lost. This is precisely what happened during the “family dinner” illustration above, and it’s typically an early sign of hearing problems.
It’s Time to Get a Hearing Exam
No matter how many of these early warning signs you may encounter, there’s really only one way to know, with confidence, whether your hearing is fading: get a hearing test.
You might very well be experiencing some amount of hearing loss even if you’re only experiencing one of these early warning signs. What level of hearing impairment you may be dealing with can only be determined with a hearing test. Then it will become more evident what has to be done about it.
This means your next family get together can be a lot more enjoyable.