The last time you had dinner with family, you were rather frustrated. It wasn’t because of family crisis (this time). No, the issue was that you couldn’t hear a thing over the loud noise of the room. So you didn’t get the opportunity to ask about Dave’s new cat or Sally’s new job. And that was really annoying. Mostly, you blame the acoustics. But you have to acknowledge that it may be an issue with your hearing.
It can be especially challenging to self-diagnose hearing loss (that’s why, typically, it’s not recommended). But there are some early red flags you should keep on your radar. When enough red flags show up, it’s time to contact us for a hearing test.
Hearing loss’s early signs
The majority of the symptoms of hearing loss are subtle. But you may be dealing with hearing loss if you can connect with any of the items on this list.
Here are some of the most common early signs of hearing loss:
- You keep requesting that people repeat themselves. If you find yourself asking numerous people to talk more slowly, talk louder, or repeat what they said, this is especially true. This early sign of hearing impairment may be occurring without you even noticing.
- Your ears are ringing: Ringing in your ears is known as tinnitus (and, technically, tinnitus can be other sounds as well: humming, buzzing, screeching, thumping, and so on). Tinnitus isn’t always associated with hearing problems, but it is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is probably needed.
- You notice that some sounds become unbearably loud. You may or may not experience this but if you do, remember that it can be an early warning of hearing loss. If you are having this problem, particularly if it persists, it’s time for a hearing test.
- You have a difficult time hearing conversations in a crowded or noisy location. This is frequently an early sign of hearing loss.
- You have difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds. Maybe you find your tea kettle has been screeching for five minutes without your knowledge. Or maybe, you never even hear the doorbell ringing. Early hearing loss is normally most noticeable in particular (and often high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
- You notice it’s difficult to understand certain words. This red flag frequently appears because consonants are beginning to sound alike, or at least, becoming more difficult to differentiate. Usually, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are muffled. Sometimes, it’s the s- and f-sounds or p- and t-sounds that become conflated.
- Someone observes that the volume on your media devices gets louder and louder. Maybe the volume on your cell phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or maybe, your TV speakers are as loud as they go. Usually, it’s a family member or a friend that points out the loud volumes.
- It’s suddenly very difficult to make out phone calls: Texting is popular these days, so you may not take as many phone calls as you once did. But you may be encountering another early warning sign if you’re having difficulty understanding the calls you do take.
Get a hearing test
You may have one or more of these early warnings but the only real way to determine the health of your hearing is to get a hearing test.
In general, any single one of these early red flags could be evidence that you’re developing some type of hearing loss. 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 prepared to determine the correct treatment.
This will help you have a much more enjoyable time at that next family gathering.