The last time you ate dinner with family, you were rather aggravated. It wasn’t because of family crisis (this time). No, the cause of the frustration was simple: it was noisy, and you couldn’t hear anything. So you didn’t hear the details about Nancy’s raise, and you didn’t have a chance to ask about Todd’s new puppy. And that was really irritating. Mostly, you blame the acoustics. But you have to admit that it may be an issue with your hearing.
It’s not usually suggested to self diagnose hearing loss because it’s extremely difficult to do. But there are some early red flags you should keep on your radar. When enough of these warning signs pop up, it’s worth scheduling an appointment to get a hearing exam.
Early signs of hearing impairment
Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is evident. But if you happen to see your own experiences reflected in any of the items on the following list, you just could be experiencing some level of hearing loss.
Some of the most common early signs of hearing loss may include:
- You have trouble hearing high-pitched sounds. Maybe you just realized your teapot was whistling after five minutes. Or maybe, you never even notice the doorbell ringing. Early hearing loss is typically most apparent in specific (and often high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
- You notice that some sounds become unbearably loud. You may or may not encounter this but if you do, keep in mind that it can be an early warning of hearing loss. If you are experiencing this problem, especially if it persists, it’s time for a hearing test.
- You’re suddenly finding it difficult to hear when you’re talking on the phone: You may not talk on the phone as often as you once did because you use texting fairly often. But you might be experiencing another early warning sign if you’re having difficulty understanding the calls you do take.
- You have a hard time hearing conversations in a crowded or noisy location. This is frequently an early indication of hearing loss.
- Specific words are difficult to understand. This warning sign often pops up because consonants are starting to sound similar, or at least, becoming more difficult to distinguish. The “sh” and “th” sounds are the most common examples. Sometimes, it’s the s- and f-sounds or p- and t-sounds that get lost.
- You hear ringing in your ears: Ringing in your ears is known as tinnitus (and, technically, tinnitus can be other sounds too: humming, buzzing, screeching, thumping, and so on). Tinnitus isn’t always related to hearing issues, but it is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing assessment is probably in order.
- You keep requesting that people repeat themselves. This is especially true if you’re asking numerous people to speak slower, say something again, or speak up. This early sign of hearing impairment may be happening without you even noticing.
- Somebody notices that the volume on your media devices is getting louder. Maybe you keep cranking the volume up on your mobile phone. Or perhaps, your TV speakers are maxed out. Usually, it’s a family member or a friend that notices the loud volumes.
Get a hearing test
No matter how many of these early red flags you might experience, there’s really only one way to know, with certainty, whether your hearing is diminishing: get a hearing exam.
You may be dealing with hearing loss if you are experiencing any one of these symptoms. A hearing assessment will be able to reveal what degree of impairment, if any, exists. Once we determine the degree of hearing loss, we can determine the best course of treatment.
This means your next family gathering can be much more enjoyable.