The last time you ate dinner with family, you were rather frustrated. It wasn’t because of family crisis (this time). No, the cause of the frustration was simple: it was loud, and you couldn’t hear anything. So you didn’t hear the details about Nancy’s promotion, and you didn’t have a chance to ask about Todd’s new dog. It was difficult. You try to play it off as if the acoustics of the room are to blame. But you have to acknowledge that it might be an issue with your hearing.
It’s not usually recommended to self diagnose hearing loss because it’s truly challenging to do. But you should watch for certain warnings. When enough of these red flags spring up, it’s worth making an appointment to get a hearing test.
Hearing loss’s early signs
Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is evident. But you could be experiencing hearing loss if you can relate to any of the items on this list.
Some of the most common early signs of hearing loss may include:
- Specific words are hard to understand. This symptom takes place when consonants become difficult to hear and differentiate. Usually, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are garbled. In some cases, it’s the s- and f-sounds or p- and t-sounds that become conflated.
- You notice that some sounds become oppressively loud. You may or may not encounter this but if you do, keep in mind that it can be an early warning of hearing loss. If you are experiencing this problem, particularly if it persists, it’s time for a hearing test.
- Someone notices that the volume on your media devices is getting louder. Maybe the volume on your mobile phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or perhaps, you have your TV volume cranked up to max. Normally, you’re not the one that notices the loud volume, it’s your kids, possibly your neighbor, or your friends.
- When you’re in a busy noisy setting, you have difficulty following conversations. This is often an early sign of hearing loss.
- You have difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds. Maybe you just noticed your teapot was screeching after five minutes. Or maybe the doorbell rings, and you don’t notice it. Hearing loss generally impacts particular frequencies normally higher pitched frequencies.
- 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 fairly often. But you may be experiencing another early warning sign if you’re having difficulty understanding the calls you do take.
- You often need people to repeat what they said. This is especially true if you’re asking multiple people to slow down, say something again, or speak up. This early sign of hearing impairment may be occurring without you even noticing.
- You hear ringing in your ears: Ringing in your ears is called tinnitus (and, technically, tinnitus can be other noises too: humming, buzzing, screeching, thumping, and so on). Tinnitus isn’t always linked to hearing problems, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is probably in order.
Get a hearing exam
You might have one or more of these early warnings but the only real way to know the health of your hearing is to get a hearing test.
You may be dealing with hearing loss if you are experiencing any one of these symptoms. And if any impairment you may have, a hearing examination will be able to identify how far gone it is. And then you’ll be better equipped to determine the best treatment.
This will help you have a much more enjoyable time at that next family get-together.