Your last family dinner was frustrating. Not because of any intra-family drama (though there’s always some of that). No, the source of the frustration was simple: it was boisterous, and you couldn’t hear a thing. So you weren’t able to have very much enjoyable conversation with any of your family members. The whole experience was extremely aggravating. For the most part, you blame the acoustics. But you can’t completely ignore the possibility that perhaps your hearing is beginning to go bad.
It’s not typically advisable to try to self diagnose hearing loss because it generally isn’t possible. But there are some early warning signs you should keep on your radar. When enough of these red flags emerge, it’s worth making an appointment to get examined by a hearing specialist.
Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs
Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is noticeable. But if you happen to find yourself noticing any of the items on the following list, you just might be going through some amount of hearing loss.
Some of the most common early signs of bad hearing may include:
- You have problems hearing high-pitched sounds. Perhaps you find your teapot has been whistling for five minutes without your knowledge. Or maybe the doorbell rings, and you never detect it. Particular frequencies (frequently high pitched) will usually be the first to fade with early hearing loss.
- Someone makes you aware that you keep turning the volume up. Maybe the volume on your phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or perhaps your TV speakers are as loud as they will go. Usually, you’re not the one that notices the loud volume, it’s your kids, maybe your neighbor, or your friends.
- It’s suddenly very hard to comprehend phone calls: People do a lot of texting these days, so you might not take as many phone calls as you once did. 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.
- You keep asking people to repeat what they said. This is especially true if you’re asking several people to slow down, say something again, or speak up. Sometimes, you may not even notice how often this is happening and you may miss this warning sign.
- You experience some that your ears are ringing: Ringing in your ears is known as tinnitus (and, technically, tinnitus can be other sounds also: screeching, buzzing, humming, thumping, and so on). Tinnitus is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, but not always so if you have a ringing in your ears, a hearing test is probably in order.
- You have a difficult time making out conversations in a noisy or crowded place. In the “family dinner” example above, this specific thing happened and it’s certainly an early warning sign.
- You notice it’s hard to comprehend certain words. This warning sign often appears because consonants are starting to sound similar, or, at least, becoming harder to differentiate. Normally, 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
- You notice that certain sounds become intolerably loud. It’s one of the more uncommon early warning signs associated with loss of hearing, but hyperacusis is common enough that you might 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.
It’s Time to Get a Hearing Test
You still can’t be certain whether you’re dealing with hearing loss even if you are encountering some of these early warning signs. You will need to get a hearing test to know for sure.
You might very well be going through some level of hearing loss even if you’re only experiencing one of these early warning signs. A hearing test will be able to tell what level of impairment, if any, is present. And then you’ll be better equipped to get the proper treatment.
This means your next family gathering can be a great deal more enjoyable.