The last time you ate dinner with family, you were rather aggravated. It wasn’t because of family drama (this time). No, the cause of the frustration was simple: it was noisy, and you couldn’t hear a thing. So you didn’t get the opportunity to ask about Dave’s new kitten or Sally’s new career. It was frustrating. Mostly, you blame the acoustics. But you have to admit that it might be an issue with your hearing.
It’s not generally suggested to self diagnose hearing loss because it’s incredibly challenging to do. But you should watch for certain warnings. When enough red flags show up, it’s time to make an appointment with us for a hearing exam.
Hearing loss’s early signs
Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is evident. But you may be experiencing hearing loss if you can connect with any of the items on this list.
Some of the most common initial signs of hearing impairment may include:
- Someone notices that the volume on your media devices is getting louder. Maybe the volume on your cell phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or maybe, you have your TV volume cranked up to max. Usually, you’re not the one that notices the loud volume, it’s your kids, possibly your neighbor, or your friends.
- Normal sounds seem unbearably loud. You may or may not encounter this but if you do, remember that it can be an early warning of hearing loss. If you are having this problem, especially if it persists, it’s time for a hearing exam.
- High-pitched sounds are getting lost. Perhaps you find your tea kettle has been whistling for five minutes but you didn’t notice it. Or perhaps the doorbell rings, and you never notice it. Early hearing loss is usually most obvious in particular (and often high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
- Certain words are difficult to understand. This red flag usually pops up because consonants are starting to sound alike, or at least, becoming more difficult to distinguish. Normally, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are muffled. In some cases, it’s the s- and f-sounds or p- and t-sounds that become conflated.
- You keep asking people to repeat themselves. If you find yourself asking numerous people to talk slower, speak louder, or repeat what they said, this is particularly true. You might not even realize you’re making such frequent requests, but it can definitely be an early sign of diminishing hearing.
- When you’re in a busy noisy setting, you have difficulty following conversations. This is frequently an early indication of hearing loss.
- It’s suddenly very difficult to make out phone calls: You may not talk on the phone as often as you once did because you use texting fairly often. But if you’re having difficulty understanding the phone calls you do get (even with the volume turned all the way up), you might be confronting another red flag for your hearing.
- You notice ringing in your ears: This ringing (it can actually be other noises too) is known as tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t always linked to hearing problems, but it is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing assessment is probably needed.
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.
Generally speaking, any single one of these early warning signs could indicate that you’re developing some type of hearing loss. And if any impairment you may have, a hearing evaluation will be able to tell you how far gone it is. Once we identify the level of hearing loss, we can determine the best course of treatment.
This will help you have a much more enjoyable time at that next family gathering.