Man with hearing loss trying to hear at the dinner table with his family.

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). The issue was the noise, which was making it hard to hear anything. So you weren’t able to have very much meaningful conversation with any of your family members. The whole experience was extremely aggravating. You feel like the room’s acoustics played a big part. But you’re also willing to admit that your hearing might be starting to wane.

It isn’t generally advisable to attempt to self diagnose hearing loss because it generally isn’t possible. But you should pay attention to some early warning signs. If some of these warning signs appear, it’s probably time to get your hearing checked.

Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs

Several of the signs of hearing loss are subtle. But you may be experiencing some degree of hearing loss if you find yourself recognizing some of these signs.

Some of the most prevalent early signs of bad hearing may include:

  • You keep needing people to repeat themselves. This is particularly true if you’re asking several people to slow down, repeat what they said, or talk louder. You may not even realize you’re making such frequent requests, but it can certainly be an early sign of diminishing hearing.
  • You find it’s hard to understand particular words. When consonants become difficult to differentiate this red flag should go up. Usually, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are muffled. At times, it’s the s- and f-sounds or p- and t-sounds that become conflated.
  • You find that certain sounds become unbearably loud. It’s one of the more unusual early warning signs associated with hearing loss, but hyperacusis is common enough that you may find yourself encountering its symptoms. If distinct sounds become unbearably loud (especially if the issue doesn’t resolve itself in short order), that could be an early hearing loss symptom.
  • Someone observes that the volume on your media devices gets louder and louder. Perhaps the volume on your phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or maybe your TV speakers are maxed out. In most cases, you’re not the one that observes the loud volume, it’s your children, maybe your neighbor, or your friends.
  • It’s suddenly very hard to understand phone calls: People do a lot of texting nowadays, so you might not take as many phone calls as you once did. But if you’re having difficulty understanding the phone calls you do get (even with the volume cranked all the way up), you may be facing another red flag for your hearing.
  • You have a hard time making out interactions in a noisy or crowded place. This is exactly what happened during the “family dinner” example above, and it’s typically an early sign of hearing problems.
  • You notice some that your ears are ringing: This ringing, which can also be the sound of screeching, thumping, buzzing, or other sounds, is technically named tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t always related to hearing problems, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is probably in order.
  • High pitched sounds are hard to hear. Maybe you find your teapot has been whistling for a while and you didn’t hear it. Or perhaps the doorbell rings, and you never notice it. Distinct frequencies (frequently high pitched) will usually be the first to fade with early hearing loss.
  • It’s Time to Get a Hearing Examination

    You still can’t be certain whether you’re dealing with hearing loss even if you are experiencing some of these early warning signs. You will need to get a hearing examination to know for sure.

    In general, even one of these early warning signs could be an indication that you’re developing some kind of hearing impairment. What level of hearing loss you might be dealing with can only be established with a hearing assessment. Then it will become more evident what has to be done about it.

    This means your next family get together can be much more enjoyable.

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    The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.