Your last family get together was frustrating. Not because of any intra-family drama (though there’s always a bit of that). No, the source of the difficulty was simple: it was loud, and you couldn’t hear a thing. So you weren’t able to have very much meaningful conversation with any of your family members. It was irritating. Mostly, you blame the acoustics. But you’re also willing to admit that your hearing could be starting to go.
It can be extremely difficult to self-diagnose hearing loss (that’s why, typically, it’s not advisable). But you should pay attention to some early warning signs. If some of these warning signs surface, it’s probably time to get your hearing examined.
Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs
Some of the indications of hearing loss are subtle. But you could be experiencing some level of hearing loss if you find yourself detecting some of these signs.
Here are a few of the warning signs of hearing loss:
High pitched sounds are hard to hear. Perhaps you find your teapot has been whistling for five minutes and you didn’t hear it. Or maybe the doorbell rings, and you never notice it. Early hearing loss is normally most apparent in particular (and often high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
You experience some ringing in your ears: This ringing, which can also be the sound of screeching, thumping, buzzing, or other noises, is technically known as tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t always related to hearing problems, but it is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing exam is probably in order.
You often need people to repeat what they said. If you find yourself continually asking people to talk louder, repeat themselves, or slow down when they speak, this is particularly true. Sometimes, you might not even recognize how frequently this is happening and you may miss this red flag.
Someone makes you realize that you keep turning up the volume on your media. Maybe you keep turning the volume up on your mobile phone. Or maybe your TV speakers are maxed out. In most cases, you’re not the one that notices the loud volume, it’s your kids, maybe your neighbor, or your friends.
It’s suddenly very hard to comprehend phone calls: Today, due to texting, we use the phone a lot less than we once did. But if you have the volume turned all the way up on your phone and you’re still having difficulty hearing calls, it’s most likely an early warning of hearing loss.
You find that certain sounds become intolerably loud. This early warning sign is less common, but hyperacusis is common enough that you might find yourself experiencing its symptoms. It can be an early sign of hearing loss if certain sounds seem really loud especially if it lasts for an extended period of time.
You notice it’s hard to understand 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
- You have a tough time following conversations in a noisy or crowded place. This is precisely what happened during the “family dinner” example above, and it’s typically an early sign of hearing problems.
It’s Time to Get a Hearing Exam
Regardless of how many of these early warning signs you may encounter, there’s really only one way to recognize, with confidence, whether your hearing is going bad: get your hearing tested.
Generally speaking, any single one of these early warning signs could be verification that you’re developing some type of hearing loss. A hearing test will be able to tell what level of impairment, if any, exists. And then you’ll be better equipped to find the correct treatment.
This means your next family gathering can be much more enjoyable.