Your last family dinner was discouraging. It wasn’t because your family was having a tough time getting along. The issue was the noise, which was making it hard to hear anything. So you weren’t able to have very much enjoyable conversation with any members of your family. It was frustrating. You feel like the room’s acoustics played a big part. But you’re also willing to accept that your hearing could be starting to wane.
It isn’t generally recommended to attempt to self diagnose hearing loss because it generally isn’t possible. But you should keep your eye out for some early warning signs. If some of these warning signs show up, it’s probably time to have your hearing checked.
Early Signs of Hearing Loss
Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is obvious. But you could be dealing with some degree of hearing loss if you find yourself noticing some of these signs.
Here are some of the warning signs of hearing loss:
- You have problems hearing high-pitched sounds. Things like a whistling teapot or ringing doorbell sometimes go undetected for several minutes or more. Early hearing loss is typically most recognizable in specific (and frequently high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
- You notice some that your ears are ringing: Ringing in your ears is known as tinnitus (and, technically, tinnitus can be other sounds too: thumping, buzzing, screeching, humming, and so on). Tinnitus is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, but not always so if your ears are ringing, a hearing test is most likely in order.
- Certain words seem harder to hear than others. When consonants become hard to differentiate this red flag should go up. 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.
- When you’re in a loud crowded place, conversations tend to get lost. This is exactly what happened during the “family dinner” example above, and it’s often an early sign of trouble with hearing.
- Someone notices that the volume on your media devices is getting louder and louder. Perhaps the volume on your phone keeps getting louder and louder. Maybe it’s your TV that’s at full volume. Usually, it’s a friend, neighbor, or a member of your family that makes you recognize the increasing volumes.
- You notice that some sounds become unbearably loud. This early warning sign is less prevalent, but hyperacusis is common enough that you may find yourself experiencing its symptoms. If particular sounds become intolerably loud (especially if the issue doesn’t resolve itself in short order), that could be an early hearing loss symptom.
- You keep needing people to repeat what they said. If you find yourself repeatedly asking people to talk louder, repeat themselves, or slow down when they speak, this is particularly true. Often, you may not even notice how frequently this is happening and you may miss this red flag.
- It’s suddenly very difficult to understand phone calls: Nowadays, because of texting, we use the phone a lot less than we once did. But if you have the volume cranked all the way up on your phone and you’re still having difficulty hearing calls, it’s probably an early warning of hearing loss.
It’s Time to Get a Hearing Test
You still can’t be certain whether you’re confronting hearing loss even if you are experiencing some of these early warning signs. You will need to get a hearing exam to know for sure.
You could very well be going through some amount of hearing loss even if you’re only noticing one of these early warning signs. What level of hearing loss you may be dealing with can only be determined with a hearing test. Then it will become more obvious what has to be done about it.
This means your next family gathering can be a great deal more enjoyable.