Bananas don’t taste like they once did. That’s because modern banana farmers grow a very different type of banana then they did in the past. These new bananas grow faster, are more resilient, and can thrive in a wider variety of climates. And they taste very different. So why haven’t you detected the great banana swap? Well, the truth is that it developed slowly, through the years. You never noticed the gradual change.
The same thing can occur with your ears and hearing loss. It isn’t like suddenly your hearing is completely gone. For most individuals, hearing loss develops gradually, often so slowly that you don’t really recognize what’s happening.
Early treatment can really help preserve your hearing so that’s a regrettable truth. If you are aware that your hearing is in danger, for example, you might take more precautions to protect it. So it’s a good plan to keep an eye out for these seven signs of waning hearing.
7 signs you should get a hearing exam
Hearing loss happens gradually and over time, but it’s not always well understood. It isn’t like you’ll go to a noisy rock concert and the next day find yourself totally incapable of hearing. Repeated exposure to loud sound over a long period of time gradually produces recognizable hearing loss. The sooner you treat your hearing loss, the better off you’ll be. You don’t want to put off on this because untreated hearing loss has been connected to problems such as social isolation, depression, and dementia.
These seven indicators are what you should be watching out for. The only way to know for certain is to get a hearing exam, but these signs may encourage you to make an appointment earlier than you otherwise would have.
Sign #1: You’re continuously turning up the volume
Are you constantly cranking up the volume on your devices? Maybe they’re mixing the sound on your favorite shows differently now, or your favorite artists have begun to mumble. But it’s also possible (if not likely) that you’re hearing is gradually going, and that you’re increasing the volume of your favorite TV show or music to compensate.
This is particularly the situation if your family has also regularly been telling you that the TV is too loud. They will often observe your hearing loss before you notice it.
Sign #2: You didn’t hear the phone ringing (or the doorbell)
It could be an indication that you’re having hearing trouble if you are continuously missing day to day sounds. Here are a few common sounds you might be missing:
- Someone knocking on your door or ringing the doorbell: When your best friend suddenly walks into your house, consider the possibility that they did actually knock, you just missed it.
- Alarms and timers: Did you sleep through your alarm clock? Did the dinner get burned? It may not be your alarm’s fault.
- Your phone: Text messages coming to you but you’re missing them? Nobody calls anymore, so you’re more likely to miss a text message than a phone call.
If your loved ones have stated that they’re a little afraid of driving with you because you miss so many common sounds (from honking horns to the beeping of a truck in reverse), that could be a sign that it’s time for a hearing test.
Sign #3: You keep asking people to repeat what they said
Are your most commonly used words “what?” or “pardon?”? It’s likely that it’s an issue with your hearing that’s causing you to need people to repeat themselves when they’re talking with you. This is especially relevant if people do repeat what they said and you still don’t hear what they say. Probably, time to schedule a hearing exam.
Sign #4: Is everyone starting to mumble?
This one goes fairly well with #3 and we may even call it #3-A. If it sounds like everyone around you is continuously mumbling or saying something under their breath, the reality is… well, they likely aren’t. That might be a relief (it’s no fun to be surrounded by people who you think are mumbling stuff about you). Alternatively, it’s more likely that you’re simply having a hard time hearing what they’re saying.
If you’re attempting to talk to somebody in a noisy setting or with someone who has a high pitched voice this can be especially true.
Sign #5: Loved ones keep recommending you get your hearing tested
Your friends and family most likely know you pretty well. It’s likely that at least some of them have fairly healthy hearing. It’s a smart plan to listen to your family members (especially the younger ones) if they are telling you something’s up with your hearing.
We understand that it’s all too easy to sort of rationalize this recommendation away. Perhaps you tell yourself it was just a bad day or whatever. But you could do your hearing a favor by taking their advice.
Sign #6: You hear ringing in your ears (or experience vertigo)
When you’re experiencing ringing in your ears, you’re dealing with a condition known as tinnitus. It’s very common. When you have hearing loss, your tinnitus can become extreme for a couple of reasons:
- Both can be triggered by damage: Both hearing loss and tinnitus can be the result of damage. So the more damaged your hearing system is, the more likely you are to develop both hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Tinnitus is more pronounced when you have hearing loss: Tinnitus can be drowned-out by everyday noises in your day-to-day life. But as those everyday noises recede to the background (due to hearing loss), the tinnitus becomes comparatively louder and substantially more noticeable.
It could be a sign that you’re experiencing problems with your ears, either way, if you have loud noises in your ears or balance problems and vertigo. This means it’s time to come see us for a hearing assessment.
Sign #7: You feel tired after social interactions
Perhaps the reason why social situations have become so tiring is because you’ve always been an introvert. Or maybe, and just hear us out here (again with the puns), your hearing isn’t what it once was.
When you leave a restaurant or a social event feeling utterly exhausted, your hearing (or lack thereof) might be the reason why. When there are gaps in what you hear, your brain tries really hard to fill in those gaps. This is exhausting (no matter how good your brain is), especially over the long run. So when you’re in especially challenging situations (such as a noisy space), you may experience even more fatigue.
The first step is calling us for an appointment
Honestly, hearing damage is common to everybody to some level. Exactly how much (and how frequently you were wearing hearing protection) may have a huge impact on when you develop hearing loss, or if you develop hearing loss in the first place.
So if you’ve experienced any of these signs, it’s a sign that the banana is changing. Happily, you can take matters into your own hands and call us for an appointment. The sooner your hearing loss is identified, the sooner you’ll be able to receive treatment.