The last time you had dinner with family, you were pretty frustrated. Not because of any intra-family drama (though there’s always a little bit of that). 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 promotion, and you didn’t have a chance 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 to blame. But you have to acknowledge that it may be a problem with your hearing.
It’s not usually suggested to self diagnose hearing loss because it’s extremely difficult to do. But you should keep your eye out for certain warning signs. When enough red flags show up, it’s time to make an appointment with us for a hearing test.
Hearing loss’s early signs
Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is noticeable. But if you happen to see your own situation reflected in any of the items on this list, you just could be experiencing some degree of hearing loss.
Some of the most common initial signs of hearing loss may include:
- You notice ringing in your ears: This ringing (it can actually be other noises too) is called tinnitus. If you have ringing or other chronic sounds in your ears, a hearing exam is your best bet because tinnitus, though it’s often an early warning of hearing impairment, can also point to other health problems.
- Normal sounds seem unbearably loud. It’s one of the more uncommon early warning signs linked to hearing loss, but hyperacusis is common enough that you might find yourself encountering its symptoms. If you are experiencing this issue, especially if it lingers, it’s time for a hearing exam.
- High-pitched sounds are hard to hear. Maybe you just noticed your teapot was screeching after five minutes. Or perhaps, you never even notice the doorbell ringing. Hearing loss generally impacts specific frequencies normally higher pitched frequencies.
- You frequently need people to repeat what they said. This is particularly true if you’re asking numerous people to slow down, say something again, or speak louder. This early sign of hearing impairment could be happening without you even noticing.
- It’s suddenly very challenging to understand phone calls: People do a lot of texting nowadays, so you may not talk on the phone as much as you once did. But if you’re having difficulty understanding the phone calls you do receive (even with the volume turned all the way up), you might be experiencing another red flag for your hearing.
- Someone notices that the volume on your media devices gets louder and louder. Perhaps the volume on your mobile phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or perhaps, your TV speakers are maxed out. Usually, you’re not the one that notices the loud volume, it’s your kids, possibly your neighbor, or your friends.
- When you’re in a busy loud place, you have trouble following conversations. This is exactly what happened during the “family dinner” example above, and it’s commonly an early sign of trouble with hearing.
- Specific words are hard to understand. This warning sign frequently pops up because consonants are starting to sound alike, or at least, becoming more difficult to distinguish. Usually, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are garbled. But another typical example is when the “s” and “f” sounds get mixed up.
Next up: Take a exam
You may have one or more of these early warnings but the only real way to know the health of your hearing is to get a hearing assessment.
You might be dealing with hearing loss if you are experiencing any one of these symptoms. And if any impairment you may have, a hearing examination will be able to tell you how far gone it is. Once we determine the level of hearing loss, we can figure out the best course of treatment.
This will help you have a much more enjoyable time at that next family get-together.