Your last family get-together was frustrating. Not because of any intra-family episode (though there’s always a little bit of that). No, the cause of the frustration was simple: it was loud, and you couldn’t hear anything. So you didn’t get the chance to ask about Dave’s new cat or Sally’s new career. It was frustrating. For the most part, you blame the acoustics. But you have to acknowledge that it might be a problem with your hearing.
It’s not generally recommended to self diagnose hearing loss because it’s incredibly challenging to do. But you should watch for certain warnings. When enough red flags appear, it’s time to make an appointment with us for a hearing assessment.
Hearing loss’s early signs
Not every symptom and sign of hearing loss is evident. But if you happen to see your own situation reflected in any of the items on the following list, you just may be experiencing some degree of hearing loss.
Some of the most common initial signs of hearing impairment could include:
- Your ears are ringing: This ringing (it can actually be other sounds too) is called tinnitus. If you have ringing or other chronic noises in your ears, a hearing exam is your best bet because tinnitus, though it’s frequently an early warning of hearing impairment, can also point to other health issues.
- When you’re in a busy noisy place, you have difficulty hearing conversations. This is precisely what occurred during the “family dinner” example above, and it’s frequently an early indication of trouble with hearing.
- You often need people to repeat what they said. If you find yourself asking numerous people to speak slower, speak louder, or repeat what they said, this is particularly true. This early sign of hearing loss may be occurring without you even noticing.
- You notice it’s difficult to understand particular words. This red flag usually shows up because consonants are starting to sound alike, or at least, becoming more difficult to distinguish. The “sh” and “th” sounds are the most prevalent examples. But another typical example is when the “s” and “f” sounds get mixed up.
- Normal sounds seem oppressively 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 specific sounds become oppressively loud (especially if the issue doesn’t resolve itself in short order), that could be an early hearing loss symptom.
- 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 don’t notice it. Hearing loss generally impacts specific frequencies usually higher pitched frequencies.
- A friend points out that your media devices are getting increasingly louder. Maybe you keep cranking up the volume on your cell phone. Or maybe, you have your TV volume turned up to max. Typically, it’s a family member or a friend that notices the loud volumes.
- You’re suddenly finding it difficult to hear when you’re talking on the phone: People do a lot of texting nowadays, so you might not take as many phone calls as you once did. But you may be encountering another early warning sign if you’re having difficulty understanding the calls you do take.
Get a hearing assessment
No matter how many of these early warning signs you may encounter, there’s really only one way to know, with confidence, whether your hearing is diminishing: get a hearing test.
You might be dealing with hearing loss if you are noticing any one of these symptoms. And if any impairment you may have, a hearing examination will be able to identify how far gone it is. And then you’ll be better prepared to find the right treatment.
This means your next family get-together can be much more enjoyable.