The last time you ate dinner with family, you were quite aggravated. 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 a thing over the boisterous noise of the room. So you didn’t get the opportunity to ask about Dave’s new kitten or Sally’s new career. And that was really irritating. Mostly, you blame the acoustics. But you can’t entirely dismiss the possibility that perhaps your hearing is beginning to go bad.
It’s not usually suggested to self diagnose hearing loss because it’s truly difficult to do. But there are some early red flags you should watch for. When enough red flags show up, it’s time to make an appointment with us for a hearing test.
Early signs of hearing loss
Most of the symptoms of hearing loss are subtle. But you may be experiencing hearing loss if you can relate to any of the items on this list.
Here are some of the most common early signs of hearing loss:
- Certain words are hard to understand. This red flag usually pops up because consonants are starting to sound alike, or at least, becoming harder to distinguish. The “sh” and “th” sounds are the most common examples. But another common example is when the “s” and “f” sounds get mixed up.
- Your ears are ringing: This ringing (it can actually be other sounds too) is called tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t always related to hearing issues, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is probably in order.
- You have a hard time hearing conversations in a crowded or noisy setting. This is exactly what happened during the “family dinner” example above, and it’s frequently an early indication of trouble with hearing.
- You frequently need people to repeat what they said. This is especially true if you’re asking numerous people to slow down, say something again, or speak up. This early sign of hearing loss could be occurring without you even noticing.
- You have trouble hearing high-pitched sounds. Perhaps you find your tea kettle has been screeching for five minutes without your knowledge. Or maybe, you never even hear the doorbell ringing. Hearing loss generally impacts particular frequencies normally higher pitched frequencies.
- You’re suddenly finding it hard to hear when you’re talking on the phone: Texting is popular these days, so you might not take as many phone calls as you once did. But if you’re having trouble understanding the phone calls you do receive (even with the volume turned all the way up), you might be confronting another red flag for your hearing.
- Normal sounds seem unbearably loud. It’s one of the more uncommon early warning signs related to hearing loss, but hyperacusis is common enough that you might find yourself encountering its symptoms. If you are experiencing this problem, particularly if it persists, it’s time for a hearing test.
- Somebody notices that the volume on your media devices gets louder and louder. Perhaps you keep turning the volume up on your mobile phone. Or perhaps, your TV speakers are as loud as they go. Usually, it’s a family member or a friend that points out the loud volumes.
Next up: Take a exam
You might 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 may be dealing with hearing loss if you are noticing any one of these symptoms. And if any impairment you may have, a hearing evaluation will be able to identify how far gone it is. And then you’ll be better equipped to find the right treatment.
This means your next family get-together can be much more fun.