The last time you had dinner with your family was a difficult experience. Not because of any intra-family drama (though there’s always some of that). No, the source of the frustration was simple: it was loud, and you couldn’t hear a thing. So you weren’t able to have very much enjoyable conversation with any of your family members. The whole experience was extremely aggravating. You feel like the room’s acoustics played a big part. But you can’t totally dismiss the possibility that perhaps your hearing is beginning to go bad.
It can be very challenging to self-diagnose hearing loss (that’s why, typically, it’s not advisable). But there are a few early warning signs you should keep your eye on. If some of these warning signs show up, it’s probably time to get your hearing examined.
Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs
Several of the symptoms of hearing loss are subtle. But if you should find yourself noticing any of the items on the following list, you just might be experiencing some amount of hearing loss.
Some of the most common early signs of bad hearing may include:
- High pitched sounds are difficult to hear. Things like a ringing doorbell or a whistling teapot frequently go undetected for several minutes or more. Particular frequencies (frequently high pitched) will usually be the first to fade with early hearing loss.
- Someone observes that the volume on your media devices gets louder and louder. Perhaps the volume on your phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or maybe your TV speakers are maxed out. Usually, it’s a friend, neighbor, or a member of your family that makes you aware of the increasing volumes.
- You frequently need people to repeat what they said. If you find yourself repeatedly asking people to speak up, repeat themselves, or slow down when they talk, this is particularly true. Often, you may not even acknowledge how often this is happening and you may miss this red flag.
- Certain words seem harder to hear than others. This warning sign frequently pops up because consonants are beginning to sound similar, or, at least, becoming difficult to differentiate. The th- and sh- sounds are very commonly muffled. At times, it’s the s- and f-sounds or p- and t-sounds that become conflated.
- You notice some ringing in your ears: This ringing, which can also be the sound of screeching, thumping, buzzing, or other sounds, is technically called tinnitus. Tinnitus is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, but not always so if your ears are ringing, a hearing test is probably in order.
- When you’re in a noisy crowded place, conversations tend to get lost. In the “family dinner” example above, this specific thing happened and it’s definitely an early warning sign.
Next Up: Take a Test
You still can’t be certain whether you’re confronting hearing loss even if you are experiencing some of these early warning signs. You will need to get a hearing test to know for sure.
Generally speaking, any single one of these early warning signs could be verification that you’re developing some type of hearing impairment. A hearing examination will be able to tell what level of impairment, if any, exists. And then you’ll be better equipped to get the right treatment.
This will make your next family get together a lot smoother and more enjoyable.