Your last family get together was frustrating. Not because of any intra-family drama (though there’s always some of that). The issue was the noise, which was making it difficult to hear anything. So you weren’t able to have very much meaningful conversation with any members of your family. The whole experience was extremely aggravating. Mostly, you blame the acoustics. But you’re also willing to admit that your hearing could be starting to go.
It can be very difficult to self-diagnose hearing loss (that’s why, typically, it’s not recommended). But you should keep your eye out for some early warning signs. If some of these warning signs show up, it’s most likely time to get your hearing tested.
Early Signs of Hearing Loss
Several of the symptoms of hearing loss are subtle. But if you should find your own experiences reflected in any of the items on the following list, you just may be dealing with some degree of hearing loss.
Some of the most prevalent early signs of bad hearing may include:
When you’re in a loud crowded place, conversations often get lost. In the “family dinner” illustration above, this specific thing occurred and it’s definitely an early warning sign.
You keep needing people to repeat what they said. If you find yourself continually asking people to talk louder, repeat what they said, or slow down when they speak, this is particularly true. You may not even recognize you’re making such frequent requests, but it can definitely be an early sign of diminishing hearing.
High pitched sounds are difficult to hear. Perhaps you find your tea kettle has been whistling for five minutes without your knowledge. Or perhaps the doorbell rings, and you never detect it. Early hearing loss is usually most apparent in particular (and often high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
You notice that certain sounds become intolerably loud. It’s one of the more unusual early warning signs linked to hearing loss, but hyperacusis is common enough that you may find yourself encountering its symptoms. If specific sounds become unbearably loud (especially if the issue doesn’t resolve itself in short order), that could be an early hearing loss symptom.
It’s suddenly very difficult to understand phone calls: Today, because of texting, we use the phone much less than we once did. But if you’re having difficulty understanding the phone calls you do receive (even with the volume turned all the way up), you may be facing another red flag for your hearing.
Some words seem harder to hear than others. When consonants become difficult to differentiate this red flag should go up. The th- and sh- sounds are very commonly muffled. At times, it’s the s- and f-sounds or p- and t-sounds that become conflated.
Someone makes you realize that you keep turning the volume up. Perhaps the volume on your phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or perhaps your TV speakers are as loud as they will go. Typically, it’s a friend, neighbor, or a family member that makes you recognize the increasing volumes.
- You experience some that your ears are ringing: Ringing in your ears is called tinnitus (and, actually, tinnitus can be other sounds also: screeching, buzzing, humming, thumping, and so on). 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.
It’s Time to Get a Hearing Exam
Regardless of how many of these early warning signs you might experience, there’s really only one way to recognize, with confidence, whether your hearing is going bad: get your hearing tested.
You might very well be going through some amount of hearing loss even if you’re only noticing one of these early warning signs. What level of hearing loss you might be dealing with can only be established with a hearing test. And then you’ll be better equipped to get the best treatment.
This means your next family get together can be far more enjoyable.