The last time you had dinner with family, you were pretty aggravated. It wasn’t because of family drama (this time). No, the cause of the stress was simple: it was loud, and you couldn’t hear a thing. So you didn’t hear the details about Nancy’s raise, and you didn’t have a chance to ask about Todd’s new puppy. And that was really irritating. You try to play it off as if the acoustics of the room are the problem. But you have to admit that it might be an issue with your hearing.
It’s not generally suggested to self diagnose hearing loss because it’s truly challenging to do. But you should watch for certain warnings. When enough red flags appear, it’s time to contact us for a hearing assessment.
Hearing loss’s early signs
Not every symptom and sign of hearing loss is obvious. But if you happen to see your own situation reflected in any of the items on the following list, you just could be experiencing some level of hearing loss.
Here are some of the most prevalent early signs of hearing loss:
- A friend points out that your media devices are getting progressively louder. Perhaps you keep turning up the volume on your mobile phone. Or maybe, your TV speakers are maxed out. Typically, it’s a family member or a friend that notices the loud volumes.
- When you’re in a crowded noisy place, you have trouble hearing conversations. This is often an early sign of hearing loss.
- Certain words are difficult to understand. This red flag often appears because consonants are starting to sound alike, or at least, becoming more difficult to differentiate. The “sh” and “th” sounds are the most common examples. But another typical example is when the “s” and “f” sounds become confused.
- High-pitched sounds are getting lost. Maybe you find your tea kettle has been screeching for five minutes without your knowledge. Or maybe the doorbell rings, and you never notice it. Hearing loss generally impacts specific frequencies usually higher pitched frequencies.
- You hear ringing in your ears: Ringing in your ears is called tinnitus (and, technically, tinnitus can be other sounds as well: screeching, buzzing, humming, thumping, and so on). If you experience ringing or other chronic sounds in your ears, a hearing test is your best bet because tinnitus, though it’s frequently an early warning of hearing impairment, can also indicate other health problems.
- You’re suddenly finding it hard to hear when you’re talking on the phone: You might not talk on the phone as often as you once did because you use texting pretty often. 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 experiencing another red flag for your hearing.
- You often 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 louder. You might not even know you’re making such frequent requests, but it can definitely be an early sign of diminishing hearing.
- You find that some sounds become oppressively 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 experiencing this problem, especially if it lingers, it’s time for a hearing test.
Get a hearing test
No matter how many of these early warning signs you may encounter, there’s really only one way to know, with confidence, whether your hearing is diminishing: get a hearing test.
You might be dealing with hearing loss if you are noticing any one of these symptoms. And if any impairment exists, a hearing evaluation will be able to tell you how far gone it is. Once we determine the degree of hearing loss, we can determine the best course of treatment.
This means your next family get-together can be much more enjoyable.