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

Your last family dinner was discouraging. It wasn’t because your family was having a hard time getting along. The problem was the noise, which was making it hard to hear anything. So you weren’t able to have very much enjoyable conversation with any members of your family. It was frustrating. For the most part, you blame the acoustics. But you can’t entirely dismiss the possibility that maybe your hearing is starting to go bad.

It isn’t typically recommended to attempt to self diagnose hearing loss because it usually isn’t possible. But you should pay attention to some early warning signs. If some of these warning signs show up, it’s probably time to have your hearing examined.

Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs

Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is evident. But you may be going through some level of hearing loss if you find yourself recognizing some of these signs.

Here are some of the warning signs of hearing loss:

  • You notice it’s difficult to comprehend particular words. 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
  • Phone calls suddenly seem muffled and hard to comprehend: Nowadays, because of texting, we use the phone much less than we once did. But if you’re having trouble comprehending 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.
  • You have a tough time following interactions in a noisy or crowded place. This is exactly what happened during the “family dinner” illustration above, and it’s typically an early sign of hearing problems.
  • Someone observes that the volume on your media devices gets louder and louder. Maybe the volume on your phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or maybe your TV speakers are as loud as they will go. Usually, it’s a friend, neighbor, or a member of your family that makes you recognize the increasing volumes.
  • You experience some that your ears are ringing: This ringing, which can also be the sound of screeching, thumping, buzzing, or other noises, is technically named tinnitus. Tinnitus is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, but not always so if you have a ringing in your ears, a hearing test is probably in order.
  • You frequently need people to repeat what they said. If you find yourself continually asking people to speak up, repeat themselves, or slow down when they talk, this is especially true. You may not even notice you’re making such regular requests, but it can definitely be an early sign of diminishing hearing.
  • Certain sounds seem so loud that they’re intolerable. It’s one of the more uncommon early warning signs linked to hearing loss, but hyperacusis is common enough that you may find yourself encountering its symptoms. If specific sounds become unbearably loud (especially if the issue doesn’t resolve itself in short order), that could be an early hearing loss symptom.
  • You have difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds. Maybe you find your tea kettle has been whistling for five minutes and you didn’t hear it. Or perhaps the doorbell rings, and you never notice it. Early hearing loss is normally most noticeable in particular (and frequently high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
  • It’s Time to Get a Hearing Test

    You still can’t be certain whether you’re confronting hearing loss even if you are encountering some of these early warning signs. You will need to get a hearing test to know for sure.

    Broadly speaking, even one of these early warning signs could be an indication that you’re developing some kind of hearing loss. A hearing evaluation will be able to tell what level of impairment, if any, exists. And then you’ll be better equipped to find the correct treatment.

    This means your next family gathering can be far 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.

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