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Man with hearing loss trying to hear at the dinner table with his family.

The last time you ate dinner with your family was a difficult experience. Not because of any intra-family drama (though there’s always a little bit of that). The issue was the noise, which was making it hard to hear anything. So you weren’t able to have very much meaningful conversation with any members of your family. The whole experience was extremely aggravating. You feel like the room’s acoustics played a big part. But you can’t totally ignore the possibility that perhaps your hearing is starting to go bad.

It isn’t generally recommended to try to self diagnose hearing loss because it usually isn’t possible. But there are some early warning signs you should keep on your radar. If some of these warning signs develop, it’s probably time to have your hearing tested.

Early Signs of Hearing Loss

Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is evident. But if you should find your own experiences reflected in any of the items on the following list, you just might be dealing with some amount of hearing loss.

Some of the most prevalent early signs of hearing impairment might include:

  • Someone notices 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, you’re not the one that observes the loud volume, it’s your children, maybe your neighbor, or your friends.
  • You notice some that your ears are ringing: Ringing in your ears is called tinnitus (and, technically, tinnitus can be other sounds too: screeching, buzzing, humming, thumping, and so on). Tinnitus isn’t necessarily connected with hearing problems, but it is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is probably in order.
  • You have problems hearing high-pitched sounds. Things like a ringing doorbell or a whistling teapot sometimes go undetected for several minutes or more. Specific frequencies (often high pitched) will typically be the first to go with early hearing loss.
  • Phone calls suddenly seem muffled and hard to comprehend: People do a lot of texting these days, so you might not take as many phone calls as you used to. But if you have the volume cranked all the way up on your phone and you’re still having difficulty hearing calls, it’s probably an early warning of hearing loss.
  • You notice that some sounds become unbearably loud. It’s one of the more uncommon early warning signs associated with hearing loss, but hyperacusis is common enough that you may 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.
  • Some words seem harder to hear than others. When consonants become hard 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 noisy crowded place, conversations often get lost. This is precisely what occurred during the “family dinner” example above, and it’s often an early sign of trouble with hearing.
  • You keep needing people to repeat themselves. If you find yourself repeatedly asking people to speak up, repeat what they said, or slow down when they talk, this is particularly true. You might not even notice you’re making such frequent requests, but it can certainly be an early sign of diminishing hearing.
  • It’s Time to Get a Hearing Exam

    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 examination to know for sure.

    Broadly speaking, any single one of these early warning signs could be an indication that you’re developing some type of hearing impairment. A hearing assessment will be able to tell what level of impairment, if any, exists. Then it will become more obvious what has to be done about it.

    This will make your next family get together a lot smoother and more enjoyable.

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    The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.