The last time you had dinner with your family was a hard experience. It wasn’t because your family was having a tough time getting along. No, the source of the frustration was simple: it was boisterous, and you couldn’t hear a thing. So you weren’t able to have very much enjoyable conversation with any of your family members. It was irritating. For the most part, you blame the acoustics. But you’re also willing to accept that your hearing might be starting to go.
It can be incredibly challenging to self-diagnose hearing loss (that’s why, typically, it’s not recommended). But you should keep your eye out for some early warning signs. If some of these warning signs develop, it’s probably time to get your hearing checked.
Early Signs of Hearing Loss
Some of the signs of hearing loss are subtle. But you may be dealing with some degree of hearing loss if you find yourself recognizing some of these signs.
Here are some of the warning signs of hearing loss:
You notice it’s tough to comprehend certain words. When consonants become difficult to differentiate this red flag should go up. The th- and sh- sounds are very commonly muffled. It can also commonly be the p- and t- sounds or the s- and f- sounds
When you’re in a loud crowded place, conversations often get lost. This is exactly what happened during the “family dinner” example above, and it’s often an early sign of hearing problems.
It’s suddenly very hard to comprehend phone calls: These days, because of texting, we use the phone a lot less than we used to. But if you’re having trouble comprehending the phone calls you do get (even with the volume turned all the way up), you may be confronting another red flag for your hearing.
You keep asking people to repeat themselves. If you find yourself repeatedly asking people to speak up, repeat what they said, or slow down when they speak, this is particularly true. Sometimes, you may not even acknowledge how often this is occurring and you might miss this warning sign.
Certain sounds seem so loud that they’re intolerable. This early warning sign is less prevalent, but hyperacusis is common enough that you may find yourself experiencing its symptoms. If specific sounds become unbearably loud (especially if the issue doesn’t resolve itself in short order), that could be an early hearing loss symptom.
You hear some that your ears are ringing: This ringing, which can also be the sound of screeching, thumping, buzzing, or other sounds, is technically called tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t necessarily associated with hearing problems, but it is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing exam is most likely in order.
Someone makes you aware that you keep turning up the volume on your media. Perhaps you keep turning the volume up on your mobile device. Or perhaps your TV speakers are as loud as they will go. Usually, you’re not the one that notices the loud volume, it’s your kids, maybe your neighbor, or your friends.
- High pitched sounds are hard to hear. Perhaps you find your tea kettle has been whistling for five minutes without your knowledge. Or maybe the doorbell rings, and you never notice it. Early hearing loss is typically most recognizable in distinct (and frequently high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
It’s Time to Get a Hearing Test
You still can’t be certain whether you’re dealing with hearing loss even if you are encountering some of these early warning signs. You will need to get a hearing exam to know for sure.
You might very well be experiencing some amount of hearing loss even if you’re only experiencing one of these early warning signs. What level of hearing impairment you might be dealing with can only be established with a hearing examination. Then it will become more obvious what needs to be done about it.
This will make your next family gathering a lot easier and more enjoyable.