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Man carrying freshly harvested bananas on his back.

Bananas don’t taste the same as they once did. There are extremely different varieties of bananas being cultivated nowadays by banana farmers. These new bananas sprout faster, are more robust, and can prosper in a wider range of climates. And they taste quite different. So how did this change occur without us noticing? Well, the change wasn’t a fast one. The change was so slow you never noticed.

Hearing loss can occur in a similar way. It’s not like you wake up one day and can’t hear anything. In most cases of hearing loss, it goes unobserved because it progresses so slowly.

That’s unfortunate because early intervention can help preserve your hearing. You can take measures to safeguard your hearing if you recognize that it’s in danger. So it’s a good plan to be on the lookout for these seven signs of diminishing hearing.

You should get your hearing tested if you exhibit any of these 7 signs

Hearing loss occurs gradually and over time, but it’s not always well grasped. It’s not like you’ll be totally incapable of hearing the day after you went to that big rock concert. Repeated exposure to loud sound over a long period of time slowly leads to noticeable hearing loss. So monitoring your hearing early will be the best way to protect it. You shouldn’t put off on this because neglected hearing loss has been connected to issues such as social separation, depression, and dementia.

You should, uh, keep your ear to the ground for these seven signs that you might be experiencing hearing loss. The only way to know for certain is to get a hearing assessment, but these indicators may encourage you to schedule an appointment earlier than you normally would have.

Sign #1: You keep cranking up the volume on your devices

Are you continually cranking up the volume on your devices? Sure, maybe it’s just that all of your favorite actors and artists have started mumbling, or that the sound mixing on TV shows is dramatically different than it was before. But it’s also possible (if not likely) that you’re hearing is gradually going, and that you’re raising the volume of your favorite TV show or music to compensate.

This is particularly the situation if your family has also regularly been telling you that the TV is too loud. They can often spot hearing trouble in you sooner than you can.

Sign #2: You missed the doorbell (or a phone call)

It could be a sign that you’re having hearing issues if you are continuously missing day to day sounds. Here are a few common sounds you might be missing:

  • Someone knocking on your door or ringing the doorbell: You thought your friend just walked into your house but you in fact missed his knocks.
  • Alarms and timers: Did you sleep through your alarm clock ringing? Did the dinner get overcooked? It might not be your alarm’s fault.
  • Your phone: Are you missing text messages? No one calls nowadays, so you’re more likely to miss a text message than a phone call.

You’re missing essential sounds while driving, like honking horns or trucks beeping while backing up, and your family and friends are becoming scared to drive with you.

Sign #3: You’re continuously needing people to repeat what they said

Is “What?” or “Pardon?” your most frequently used words? It’s likely that it’s a problem with your hearing that’s causing you to need people to repeat what they said when they talk to you. If people do repeat what they said and you still fail to hear them this is particularly relevant. Looks like a hearing test is needed.

Sign #4: Is everyone starting to mumble?

This one goes fairly well with #3 and we might even call it #3-A. If it sounds as if everyone around you is continuously mumbling or saying something under their breath, the truth is… well, they likely aren’t. It’s stressful to always think people are mumbling about you, so it may be a relief to find out they’re actually not. Instead, it’s more likely that you’re simply having a difficult time hearing what they’re saying.

This can be particularly pronounced if you’re trying to listen to somebody who has a higher pitched voice, or if you need to have a conversation in a loud space, such as a restaurant.

Sign #5: Loved ones keep recommending you have your hearing checked

You probably have a pretty close relationship with your family and friends. And some of them probably have healthy hearing. It’s a smart idea to pay attention to your family members (especially the younger ones) if they are telling you something is going on with your hearing.

We get that it’s all too easy to sort of rationalize this advice away. Perhaps you feel like they just caught you on a bad day or something. But you could do your hearing a favor by taking their advice.

Sign #6: Your ears are ringing or you’re experiencing balance issues

Ringing in your ears is a condition known as tinnitus. It’s really common. When you have hearing loss, your tinnitus can become profound for a couple of reasons:

  • Damage can cause both: Damage causes both tinnitus and loss of hearing. So the more damaged your hearing system is, the more likely you are to experience both hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Tinnitus is more noticeable when you have hearing loss: In your typical day-to-day life, tinnitus can be overwhelmed by the everyday noises you encounter. But as those everyday noises fade to the background (due to hearing loss), the tinnitus becomes comparatively louder and substantially more noticeable.

It could be a sign that you’re dealing with issues with your ears, either way, if you have loud noises in your ears or balance problems and vertigo. And that means (no shock here), yes, you need to come see us for a hearing test.

Sign #7: You feel exhausted after social engagement

Perhaps you’ve always been an introvert at heart, and that’s why social interactions have become completely draining. Or perhaps, and just hear us out here (again with the puns), your hearing isn’t what it used to be.

Your hearing could be the reason why you feel wiped out after leaving a restaurant or social affair. When there are gaps in what you hear, your brain works really hard to fill in those gaps. This is fatiguing (no matter how good your brain is), particularly over the long run. So when you’re in particularly strenuous situations (such as a noisy space), you may experience even more exhaustion.

The first step is calling us for an appointment

Honestly, hearing damage is normal to everybody to some level. If or when you develop hearing loss is heavily dependent on how well you safeguard your ears when you’re exposed to loud noise.

So it may be an indication that the banana is changing if you encounter any of these signs. Thankfully, there’s something you can do about it: come in and get evaluated! The sooner your hearing loss is identified, the sooner you’ll be able to receive treatment.

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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.