The last time you ate dinner with family, you were rather frustrated. It wasn’t because of family drama (this time). No, the problem was that you couldn’t hear a thing over the boisterous noise of the room. So you didn’t get the opportunity to ask about Dave’s new cat or Sally’s new career. It was difficult. For the most part, you blame the acoustics. But you have to acknowledge that it may be an issue with your hearing.
It’s not usually recommended to self diagnose hearing loss because it’s incredibly challenging to do. But you should watch for certain warning signs. When enough red flags show up, it’s time to make an appointment with us for a hearing test.
Early signs of hearing impairment
Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is evident. But if you happen to see your own experiences reflected in any of the items on this list, you just may be experiencing some level of hearing loss.
Some of the most common early signs of hearing loss could include:
- A friend points out that your media devices are getting progressively louder. Perhaps the volume on your cell phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or perhaps, your TV speakers are as loud as they go. Typically, it’s a family member or a friend that points out the loud volumes.
- Normal sounds seem 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 specific sounds become unbearably loud (particularly if the issue doesn’t go away in short order), that could be an early hearing loss indicator.
- You’re suddenly finding it hard to hear when you’re talking on the phone: Texting is popular nowadays, so you might not talk on the phone as much as you used to. But if you’re having trouble understanding the phone calls you do get (even with the volume turned all the way up), you might be confronting another red flag for your hearing.
- You have a hard time following conversations in a busy or noisy location. This is exactly what occurred during the “family dinner” example above, and it’s commonly an early sign of trouble with hearing.
- High-pitched sounds are getting lost. Perhaps you find your tea kettle has been whistling for five minutes but you didn’t notice it. Or perhaps the doorbell rings, and you never notice it. Early hearing loss is normally most noticeable in specific (and often high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
- Specific words are difficult to understand. This symptom occurs when consonants become difficult to hear and distinguish. The “sh” and “th” sounds are the most common examples. But another typical example is when the “s” and “f” sounds become confused.
- Your ears are ringing: This ringing (it can actually be other sounds too) is called tinnitus. If you experience ringing or other chronic noises in your ears, a hearing exam is your best bet because tinnitus, though it’s often an early warning of hearing loss, can also point to other health issues.
- You frequently need people to repeat what they said. If you find yourself asking multiple people to speak slower, speak louder, or repeat what they said, this is especially true. You may not even know you’re making such frequent requests, but it can certainly be an early sign of diminishing hearing.
Get a hearing test
You might 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 exam.
You may be experiencing hearing loss if you are experiencing any one of these symptoms. And if any impairment exists, a hearing assessment will be able to identify how far gone it is. And then you’ll be better equipped to determine the right treatment.
This means your next family gathering can be much more fun.