Your last family dinner was disheartening. It wasn’t because your family was having a hard time getting along. No, the source of the difficulty was simple: it was boisterous, and you couldn’t hear anything. So you didn’t hear the details about Judy’s promotion, and you didn’t have a chance to ask about Jay’s new cat. It was irritating. For the most part, you blame the acoustics. But you can’t totally ignore the possibility that maybe your hearing is beginning to go bad.
It’s not typically advisable to try to self diagnose hearing loss because it usually isn’t possible. But there are a few early warning signs you should keep on your radar. If some of these warning signs appear, it’s most likely time to get your hearing examined.
Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs
Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is evident. But you could be going through some level of hearing loss if you find yourself detecting some of these signs.
Here are some of the warning signs of hearing loss:
You experience some that your ears are ringing: Ringing in your ears is known as tinnitus (and, actually, tinnitus can be other sounds too: screeching, buzzing, humming, thumping, and so on). Tinnitus isn’t necessarily related to hearing issues, but it is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is probably in order.
When you’re in a noisy crowded place, conversations often get lost. In the “family dinner” example above, this exact thing happened and it’s definitely an early warning sign.
You often need people to repeat what they said. If you find yourself continually asking people to talk louder, repeat themselves, or slow down when they speak, this is especially true. Sometimes, you may not even notice how frequently this is happening and you might miss this red flag.
High pitched sounds are difficult to hear. Things like a ringing doorbell or a whistling teapot frequently go undetected for several minutes or more. Early hearing loss is typically most recognizable in particular (and often high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
It’s suddenly very hard to comprehend phone calls: Today, because of texting, we use the phone a lot less than we used to. But if you’re having problems understanding the phone calls you do receive (even with the volume cranked all the way up), you might be facing another red flag for your hearing.
Someone notices that the volume on your media devices gets louder and louder. Maybe the volume on your phone keeps getting louder and louder. Possibly it’s your TV that’s at max volume. In most cases, you’re not the one that notices the loud volume, it’s your children, maybe your neighbor, or your friends.
You find that certain 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 encountering its symptoms. If specific sounds become unbearably loud (especially if the issue doesn’t resolve itself in short order), that could be an early hearing loss symptom.
- You find it’s difficult to comprehend particular words. When consonants become hard to differentiate this red flag should go up. The th- and sh- sounds are very commonly muffled. Sometimes, it’s the s- and f-sounds or p- and t-sounds that become conflated.
It’s Time to Get a Hearing Test
You still can’t be certain whether you’re confronting hearing loss even if you are encountering some of these early warning signs. You will need to get a hearing exam to know for sure.
In general, any single one of these early warning signs could be evidence that you’re developing some type of hearing loss. What level of hearing loss you may be dealing with can only be determined with a hearing evaluation. And then you’ll be better equipped to get the best treatment.
This will make your next family get together a lot smoother and more fun.