Your last family get-together was disheartening. It wasn’t because of family drama (this time). No, the problem was that you couldn’t hear anything over the boisterous noise of the room. So you didn’t get the details about Nancy’s raise, and you didn’t have the ability to ask about Todd’s new puppy. And that was really annoying. You try to play it off as if the room’s acoustics are the problem. But you can’t completely dismiss the idea that maybe your hearing is beginning to go bad.
It’s not usually recommended to self diagnose hearing loss because it’s incredibly challenging to do. But you should watch for certain warnings. When enough red flags appear, it’s time to make an appointment with us for a hearing exam.
Hearing loss’s early signs
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 may be experiencing some level of hearing loss.
Here are some of the most common early signs of hearing loss:
- You frequently need people to repeat what they said. This is particularly true if you’re asking numerous people to speak slower, say something again, or speak up. This early sign of hearing impairment may be happening without you even noticing.
- You have difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds. Perhaps you find your tea kettle has been screeching for five minutes without your knowledge. Or perhaps, you never even hear the doorbell ringing. Hearing loss usually affects particular frequencies normally higher pitched frequencies.
- You’re suddenly finding it difficult to hear when you’re talking on the phone: You may not talk on the phone as often as you once did because you use texting pretty often. But you might be encountering another early warning sign if you’re having difficulty understanding the calls you do take.
- You notice that some sounds become oppressively loud. It’s one of the more uncommon early warning signs associated with hearing loss, but hyperacusis is common enough that you may find yourself encountering its symptoms. If you are experiencing this issue, particularly if it persists, it’s time for a hearing exam.
- When you’re in a crowded noisy setting, you have trouble following conversations. This is frequently an early sign of hearing loss.
- You notice ringing in your ears: This ringing (it can actually be other noises too) is known as tinnitus. If you have ringing or other chronic sounds in your ears, a hearing test is your best bet because tinnitus, though it’s often an early warning of hearing loss, can also indicate other health issues.
- Somebody notices that the volume on your media devices is getting louder. Perhaps you keep turning up the volume on your cell phone. Or perhaps, your TV speakers are maxed out. Usually, you’re not the one that observes the loud volume, it’s your kids, possibly your neighbor, or your friends.
- Certain words are hard to understand. This red flag frequently pops up because consonants are beginning to sound alike, or at least, becoming more difficult to distinguish. Usually, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are garbled. Sometimes, it’s the s- and f-sounds or p- and t-sounds that get lost.
Next up: Take a test
No matter how many of these early red flags you might experience, there’s really only one way to know, with confidence, whether your hearing is going bad: get a hearing exam.
In general, any single one of these early red flags could indicate that you’re developing some type of hearing impairment. And if any impairment exists, a hearing examination will be able to tell you how far gone it is. And then you’ll be better prepared to find the right treatment.
This will help you have a much more enjoyable time at that next family gathering.