Your last family get together was frustrating. It wasn’t because your family was having a difficult time getting along. The issue was the noise, which was making it difficult to hear anything. So you weren’t able to have very much enjoyable conversation with any of your family members. The whole experience was extremely aggravating. For the most part, you blame the acoustics. But you can’t completely ignore the possibility that perhaps your hearing is beginning to go bad.
It’s not generally advisable to attempt to self diagnose hearing loss because it generally isn’t possible. But you should keep your eye out for some early warning signs. When enough of these red flags surface, it’s worth scheduling an appointment to get examined by a hearing professional.
Early Signs of Hearing Loss
Some of the indications of hearing loss are subtle. But if you happen to find your own experiences reflected in any of the items on the following list, you just may be experiencing some amount of hearing loss.
Some of the most common early signs of bad hearing may include:
- There’s a ringing in your ears: This ringing, which can also be the sound of screeching, thumping, buzzing, or other sounds, is technically called tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t always connected with hearing problems, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing exam is most likely in order.
- High pitched sounds are hard to hear. Things like a whistling teapot or ringing doorbell frequently go undetected for several minutes or more. Early hearing loss is normally most noticeable in distinct (and often high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
- It’s suddenly very hard to understand phone calls: People do a lot of texting nowadays, so you may not take as many phone calls as you used to. But if you’re having trouble understanding the phone calls you do get (even with the volume cranked all the way up), you may be dealing with another red flag for your hearing.
- When you’re in a noisy crowded place, conversations often get lost. This is exactly what occurred during the “family dinner” example above, and it’s often an early sign of trouble with hearing.
- You find it’s difficult to understand certain words. This red flag frequently pops up because consonants are starting to sound similar, or, at least, becoming harder to differentiate. Normally, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are muffled. Sometimes, it’s the s- and f-sounds or p- and t-sounds that become conflated.
- Certain sounds seem so loud that they’re intolerable. This early warning sign is less common, but hyperacusis is common enough that you might find yourself encountering its symptoms. If particular sounds become unbearably loud (especially if the issue doesn’t resolve itself in short order), that could be an early hearing loss symptom.
- You keep needing people to repeat themselves. This is especially true if you’re asking several people to slow down, say something again, or speak up. Often, you may not even acknowledge how often this is occurring and you may miss this red flag.
Next Up: Get a Examination
Regardless of how many of these early warning signs you might experience, there’s really only one way to recognize, with certainty, whether your hearing is going bad: get a hearing test.
You could very well be experiencing some amount of hearing loss even if you’re only noticing one of these early warning signs. A hearing assessment will be able to tell what level of impairment, if any, exists. And then you’ll be better prepared to get the proper treatment.
This will make your next family get together a lot easier and more enjoyable.