The last time you ate dinner with your family was a hard experience. Not because of any intra-family drama (though there’s always a little bit of that). No, the source of the difficulty was simple: it was loud, and you couldn’t hear a thing. So you weren’t able to have very much meaningful conversation with any of your family members. It was frustrating. Mostly, you blame the acoustics. But you can’t totally dismiss the possibility that maybe your hearing is beginning to go bad.
It can be extremely difficult to self-diagnose hearing loss (that’s why, typically, it’s not recommended). But there are some early warning signs you should keep your eye on. If some of these warning signs appear, it’s most likely time to get your hearing tested.
Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs
Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is evident. But you might be experiencing some degree of hearing loss if you find yourself noticing some of these signs.
Some of the most prevalent early signs of hearing impairment may include:
When you’re in a loud crowded place, conversations tend to get lost. In the “family dinner” example above, this specific thing occurred and it’s certainly an early warning sign.
There’s a ringing in your ears: This ringing, which can also be the sound of screeching, thumping, buzzing, or other noises, is technically called tinnitus. Tinnitus is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, but not always so if your ears are ringing, a hearing test is probably in order.
You find that certain sounds become intolerably loud. It’s one of the more uncommon early warning signs related to loss of hearing, but hyperacusis is common enough that you might find yourself encountering its symptoms. It can be an early sign of hearing loss if certain sounds seem really loud especially if it lasts for an extended period of time.
Someone notices that the volume on your media devices is getting louder and louder. Perhaps you keep turning the volume up on your mobile device. Or perhaps your TV speakers are as loud as they will go. Usually, it’s a friend, neighbor, or a member of your family that makes you aware of the increasing volumes.
High pitched sounds are difficult to hear. Things like a whistling teapot or ringing doorbell frequently go unnoticed for several minutes or more. Particular frequencies (frequently high pitched) will usually be the first to fade with early hearing loss.
You keep needing people to repeat what they said. This is particularly true if you’re asking multiple people to slow down, say something again, or speak up. Often, you may not even acknowledge how often this is occurring and you might miss this warning sign.
You find it’s difficult to understand certain words. This red flag frequently pops up because consonants are beginning to sound similar, or, at least, becoming difficult to differentiate. Usually, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are muffled. It can also commonly be the p- and t- sounds or the s- and f- sounds
- It’s suddenly very hard to comprehend phone calls: Nowadays, because of texting, we use the phone a lot less than we used to. But if you have the volume turned all the way up on your phone and you’re still having trouble hearing calls, it’s most likely an early warning of hearing loss.
Next Up: Get a Exam
Regardless of how many of these early warning signs you may encounter, there’s really only one way to recognize, with certainty, whether your hearing is fading: get a hearing test.
Generally speaking, any single one of these early warning signs could be an indication that you’re developing some type of hearing impairment. What level of hearing impairment you may be dealing with can only be established with a hearing assessment. Then it will become more obvious what needs to be done about it.
This means your next family get together can be far more enjoyable.