The last time you ate dinner with your family was a hard experience. It wasn’t because your family was having a tough time getting along. The issue was the noise, which was making it hard to hear anything. So you weren’t able to have very much enjoyable conversation with any of your family members. The whole experience was incredibly aggravating. For the most part, you blame the acoustics. But you’re also willing to accept that your hearing could be starting to go.
It isn’t generally recommended to try to self diagnose hearing loss because it usually isn’t possible. But there are a few early warning signs you should keep on your radar. When enough of these red flags spring up, it’s worth scheduling an appointment to get examined by a hearing specialist.
Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs
Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is obvious. But if you happen to find yourself noticing any of the items on the following list, you just might be dealing with some level of hearing loss.
Some of the most prevalent early signs of hearing impairment might include:
When you’re in a loud crowded place, conversations tend to get lost. In the “family dinner” example above, this specific thing happened and it’s certainly an early warning sign.
You notice it’s tough 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. At times, it’s the s- and f-sounds or p- and t-sounds that become conflated.
You keep asking people to repeat themselves. If you find yourself continually asking people to talk louder, repeat themselves, or slow down when they talk, this is especially true. You may not even notice you’re making such frequent requests, but it can definitely be an early sign of diminishing hearing.
Phone calls suddenly seem muffled and difficult to comprehend: These days, because of texting, we use the phone a lot less than we used to. But if you have the volume turned all the way up on your phone and you’re still having difficulty hearing calls, it’s most likely an early warning of hearing loss.
Certain sounds seem so loud that they’re unbearable. It’s one of the more unusual early warning signs linked to loss of hearing, but hyperacusis is common enough that you might find yourself encountering its symptoms. It can be an early sign of hearing loss if certain sounds seem really loud particularly if it lasts for an extended period of time.
High pitched sounds are difficult to hear. Things like a whistling teapot or ringing doorbell sometimes go unnoticed for several minutes or more. Early hearing loss is normally most apparent in particular (and frequently high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
There’s a ringing in your ears: This ringing, which can also be the sound of screeching, thumping, buzzing, or other noises, is technically known as tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t necessarily associated with hearing issues, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is most likely in order.
Someone notices that the volume on your media devices is getting louder and louder. Perhaps you keep turning up the volume on your mobile device. Or maybe your TV speakers are as loud as they will go. Typically, it’s a friend, neighbor, or a member of your family that makes you aware of the increasing volumes.
It’s Time to Get a Hearing Exam
You still can’t be certain whether you’re dealing with hearing loss even if you are experiencing some of these early warning signs. You will need to get a hearing exam to know for sure.
Broadly speaking, even one of these early warning signs could be an indication that you’re developing some type of hearing loss. What level of hearing loss you might be dealing with can only be determined with a hearing test. And then you’ll be better prepared to get the correct treatment.
This will make your next family get together a lot smoother and more fun.