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The last time you ate dinner with your family was a hard experience. Not because of any intra-family drama (though there’s always a bit of that). The problem was the noise, which was making it hard to hear anything. So you didn’t hear the details about Nancy’s promotion, and you didn’t have an opportunity to ask about Jay’s new puppy. The whole experience was incredibly aggravating. You feel like the room’s acoustics played a big part. But you can’t entirely discount the possibility that perhaps your hearing is beginning to go bad.

It can be incredibly challenging to self-diagnose hearing loss (that’s why, typically, it’s not recommended). But there are a few early warning signs you should keep your eye on. When enough of these red flags emerge, it’s worth making an appointment to get checked by a hearing specialist.

Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs

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

Here are a few of the warning signs of hearing loss:

  • You often need people to repeat what they said. This is especially true if you’re asking several people to slow down, say something again, or speak up. Often, you might not even acknowledge how frequently this is happening and you may miss this red flag.
  • Someone notices that the volume on your media devices gets louder and louder. Perhaps the volume on your phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or perhaps your TV speakers are as loud as they will go. In most cases, you’re not the one that observes the loud volume, it’s your kids, maybe your neighbor, or your friends.
  • You notice that some sounds become unbearably loud. This early warning sign is less common, but hyperacusis is common enough that you may 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.
  • It’s suddenly very difficult to understand phone calls: People do a lot of texting nowadays, so you might not take as many phone calls as you used to. But if you have the volume turned all the way up on your phone and you’re still having trouble hearing calls, it’s most likely an early warning of hearing loss.
  • High pitched sounds are difficult to hear. Maybe you find your teapot has been whistling for five minutes without your knowledge. Or maybe the doorbell rings, and you never detect it. Early hearing loss is typically most noticeable in specific (and often 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 named tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t necessarily related to hearing problems, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is most likely in order.
  • You have a tough time making out conversations in a crowded or noisy place. In the “family dinner” example above, this specific thing occurred and it’s definitely an early warning sign.
  • You notice it’s tough to understand certain words. When consonants become difficult to differentiate this red flag should go up. 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.
  • It’s Time to Get a Hearing Examination

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

    You could very well be going through some level of hearing loss even if you’re only experiencing one of these early warning signs. A hearing assessment will be able to tell what level of impairment, if any, is present. Then it will become more obvious what has to be done about it.

    This means your next family get together can be a great deal 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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