Your last family dinner was disheartening. It wasn’t because of family drama (this time). No, the issue was that you couldn’t hear anything over the loud noise of the room. So you didn’t get the details about Nancy’s promotion, and you didn’t have a chance to ask about Todd’s new puppy. It was difficult. You try to play it off as if the room’s acoustics are to blame. But you have to acknowledge that it might be a problem with your hearing.
It’s not usually recommended to self diagnose hearing loss because it’s extremely challenging to do. But you should keep your eye out for certain warnings. When enough of these warning signs spring up, it’s worth scheduling an appointment to get a hearing exam.
Hearing loss’s early signs
Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is obvious. But you could be experiencing hearing loss if you can connect with any of the items on this list.
Here are some of the most common early signs of hearing loss:
- You’re suddenly finding it hard to hear when you’re talking on the phone: You may not talk on the phone as often as you once did because you use texting pretty often. But if you’re having trouble understanding the phone calls you do receive (even with the volume turned all the way up), you might be experiencing another red flag for your hearing.
- You have a hard time following conversations in a busy or noisy place. This is often an early sign of hearing loss.
- Somebody observes that the volume on your media devices gets louder and louder. Maybe the volume on your cell phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or perhaps, your TV speakers are maxed out. Usually, it’s a family member or a friend that points out the loud volumes.
- You find that some sounds become unbearably loud. You may or may not encounter this but if you do, be aware 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.
- You keep requesting that people repeat themselves. This is particularly true if you’re asking numerous people to slow down, say something again, or speak up. You may not even know you’re making such frequent requests, but it can definitely be an early sign of diminishing hearing.
- You hear ringing in your ears: This ringing (it can actually be other sounds too) is called tinnitus. If you have ringing or other chronic sounds in your ears, a hearing exam is your best bet because tinnitus, though it’s often an early warning of hearing impairment, can also indicate other health problems.
- You have trouble hearing high-pitched sounds. Maybe you find your tea kettle has been screeching for five minutes but you didn’t notice it. Or perhaps, you never even hear the doorbell ringing. Hearing loss generally impacts particular frequencies normally higher pitched frequencies.
- Specific words are hard to understand. This red flag often appears because consonants are starting to sound similar, or at least, becoming more difficult to distinguish. Usually, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are garbled. But another common example is when the “s” and “f” sounds get mixed up.
Get a hearing assessment
No matter how many of these early warning signs you may experience, there’s really only one way to know, with confidence, whether your hearing is diminishing: get a hearing exam.
You might be dealing with hearing loss if you are noticing any one of these symptoms. A hearing assessment will be able to tell what level of impairment, if any, exists. And then you’ll be better equipped to determine the right treatment.
This means your next family gathering can be much more fun.