The last time you ate dinner with family, you were rather frustrated. Not because of any intra-family drama (though there’s always a little bit of that). No, the source of the stress was simple: it was loud, and you couldn’t hear anything. So you didn’t get the opportunity to ask about Dave’s new kitten or Sally’s new career. And that was really irritating. You try to play it off as if the room’s acoustics are to blame. But you can’t totally discount the idea that maybe your hearing is starting to go bad.
It’s not usually suggested to self diagnose hearing loss because it’s incredibly difficult to do. But there are some early warning signs you should keep on your radar. When enough of these red flags pop up, it’s worth making an appointment to get a hearing test.
Early signs of hearing loss
Not every symptom and sign of hearing loss is evident. But you could be dealing with hearing loss if you can relate to any of the items on this list.
Some of the most common initial signs of hearing loss could include:
- A friend notices that your media devices are getting increasingly louder. Maybe you keep turning the volume up on your cell phone. Or perhaps, your TV speakers are maxed out. Normally, you’re not the one that notices the loud volume, it’s your kids, maybe your neighbor, or your friends.
- You find that some sounds become oppressively loud. You may or may not encounter this but if you do, keep in mind that it can be an early warning of hearing loss. If particular sounds become oppressively loud (especially if the problem doesn’t resolve itself in short order), that could be an early hearing loss symptom.
- When you’re in a crowded loud setting, you have trouble hearing conversations. This is frequently an early sign of hearing loss.
- You hear ringing in your ears: Ringing in your ears is called tinnitus (and, technically, tinnitus can be other sounds too: screeching, buzzing, humming, thumping, and so on). If you experience ringing or other chronic noises in your ears, a hearing exam is your best bet because tinnitus, though it’s frequently an early warning of hearing loss, can also indicate other health problems.
- You notice it’s difficult to understand particular words. This symptom occurs when consonants become hard to hear and distinguish. Usually, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are garbled. In some cases, it’s the s- and f-sounds or p- and t-sounds that get lost.
- You have difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds. Perhaps you find your tea kettle has been screeching for five minutes without your knowledge. Or maybe, you never even notice the doorbell ringing. Hearing loss usually impacts particular frequencies normally higher pitched frequencies.
- You keep asking people to repeat themselves. This is particularly true if you’re asking multiple people to slow down, say something again, or speak up. This early sign of hearing impairment may be happening without you even noticing.
- It’s suddenly very challenging to make out phone calls: People do a lot of texting these days, so you might not talk on the phone as much as you once did. But if you’re having difficulty understanding the phone calls you do get (even with the volume turned all the way up), you might be experiencing another red flag for your hearing.
Get a hearing assessment
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 test.
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 evaluation will be able to tell you how far gone it is. Once we determine the degree of hearing loss, we can determine the best course of treatment.
This will help you have a much more enjoyable time at that next family get-together.