The last time you had dinner with family, you were rather aggravated. Not because of any intra-family drama (though there’s always some of that). No, the problem was that you couldn’t hear anything over the boisterous noise of the room. So you didn’t get the opportunity to ask about Dave’s new cat or Sally’s new career. It was difficult. You try to play it off as if the acoustics of the room are to blame. But you have to admit that it may be an issue with your hearing.
It’s not generally suggested to self diagnose hearing loss because it’s incredibly challenging to do. But there are some early red flags you should watch for. When enough red flags appear, it’s time to call us for a hearing exam.
Early signs of hearing loss
Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is obvious. But you might be experiencing hearing loss if you can connect with any of the items on this list.
Some of the most common early signs of hearing impairment could include:
- You keep asking people to repeat themselves. If you find yourself asking multiple people to talk slower, talk louder, or repeat what they said, this is especially true. This early sign of hearing loss could be occurring without you even noticing.
- Certain words are hard to understand. This symptom occurs when consonants become hard to hear and distinguish. The “sh” and “th” sounds are the most prevalent examples. But another common example is when the “s” and “f” sounds get mixed up.
- Someone observes that the volume on your media devices gets louder and louder. Perhaps you keep cranking up the volume on your mobile phone. Or maybe, your TV speakers are as loud as they go. Normally, you’re not the one that observes the loud volume, it’s your kids, possibly your neighbor, or your friends.
- Your ears are ringing: Ringing in your ears is known as tinnitus (and, technically, tinnitus can be other sounds as well: humming, buzzing, screeching, thumping, and so on). Tinnitus isn’t always associated with hearing problems, but it is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is probably needed.
- It’s suddenly very hard to make out phone calls: People do a lot of texting nowadays, so you might not take as many phone calls as you once did. But if you’re having difficulty understanding the phone calls you do receive (even with the volume turned all the way up), you might be confronting another red flag for your hearing.
- Normal sounds seem unbearably loud. You may or may not experience this but if you do, be aware that it can be an early warning of hearing loss. If particular sounds become oppressively loud (particularly if the problem doesn’t resolve itself in short order), that could be an early hearing loss symptom.
- When you’re in a busy noisy place, you have difficulty following conversations. This is frequently an early indication of hearing loss.
- High-pitched sounds are getting lost. Perhaps you find your tea kettle has been screeching for five minutes without your knowledge. Or maybe the doorbell rings, and you never notice it. Early hearing loss is normally most apparent in particular (and often high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
Get a hearing assessment
You might have one or more of these early warnings but the only real way to know the health of your hearing is to get a hearing exam.
Generally speaking, any single one of these early red flags could indicate that you’re developing some kind of hearing impairment. And if any impairment you may have, a hearing assessment will be able to tell you how bad it is. And then you’ll be better prepared to find the best treatment.
This will help you have a much more enjoyable time at that next family gathering.