Your last family get-together was disheartening. It wasn’t because of family crisis (this time). No, the source of the frustration was simple: it was loud, and you couldn’t hear anything. So you didn’t get the opportunity to ask about Dave’s new cat or Sally’s new job. And that was really annoying. Mostly, you blame the acoustics. But you can’t entirely discount the idea that maybe your hearing is starting to go bad.
It’s not usually recommended to self diagnose hearing loss because it’s truly challenging to do. But you should keep your eye out for certain warning signs. When enough red flags appear, it’s time to call us for a hearing assessment.
Early signs of hearing loss
Most of the symptoms of hearing loss are subtle. But you may be dealing with hearing loss if you can connect with any of the items on this list.
Here are some of the most common early signs of hearing loss:
- It’s suddenly very difficult to understand phone calls: Texting is popular nowadays, so you may not talk on the phone as much as you once did. 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 experiencing another red flag for your hearing.
- You discover it’s difficult to make out particular words. This symptom occurs when consonants become hard to hear and differentiate. Usually, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are muffled. But another typical example is when the “s” and “f” sounds get mixed up.
- High-pitched sounds are getting lost. Maybe you just realized your teapot was screeching after five minutes. Or perhaps, you never even notice the doorbell ringing. Hearing loss generally affects particular frequencies usually higher pitched frequencies.
- You find that some sounds become oppressively loud. You may or may not encounter this but if you do, remember that it can be an early warning of hearing loss. If particular sounds become oppressively loud (particularly if the issue doesn’t resolve itself in short order), that may be an early hearing loss indicator.
- A friend notices that your media devices are getting increasingly louder. Perhaps the volume on your mobile phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or maybe, you have your TV volume cranked up to max. Usually, you’re not the one that observes the loud volume, it’s your kids, maybe your neighbor, or your friends.
- You notice ringing in your ears: This ringing (it can actually be other noises too) is known as tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t always associated with hearing issues, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is probably needed.
- You have a hard time following conversations in a crowded or noisy setting. This is often an early sign of hearing loss.
- You keep requesting that people repeat themselves. This is particularly true if you’re asking numerous people to slow down, say something again, or speak louder. This early sign of hearing impairment may be happening without you even noticing.
Next up: Take a exam
You may 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 dealing with hearing loss if you are experiencing any one of these symptoms. A hearing evaluation will be able to reveal what degree of impairment, if any, exists. And then you’ll be better prepared to determine the best treatment.
This means your next family gathering can be much more enjoyable.