The last time you had dinner with family, you were quite aggravated. It wasn’t because of family crisis (this time). No, the cause of the stress was simple: it was loud, and you couldn’t hear anything. So you didn’t get the chance to ask about Dave’s new kitten or Sally’s new career. It was difficult. You try to play it off as if the room’s acoustics are to blame. But you have to admit that it might be a problem with your hearing.
It’s not generally recommended to self diagnose hearing loss because it’s truly difficult to do. But you should keep your eye out for certain warning signs. When enough red flags appear, it’s time to call us for a hearing assessment.
Early signs of hearing impairment
The majority of the symptoms of hearing loss are subtle. But you may be experiencing hearing loss if you can relate to any of the items on this list.
Some of the most common initial signs of hearing impairment could include:
- You notice ringing in your ears: Ringing in your ears is called tinnitus (and, technically, tinnitus can be other noises too: humming, buzzing, screeching, thumping, and so on). Tinnitus isn’t always linked to hearing issues, but it is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is probably needed.
- You frequently need people to repeat what they said. If you find yourself asking multiple people to speak more slowly, speak louder, or repeat what they said, this is particularly true. This early sign of hearing loss could be happening without you even noticing.
- You’re suddenly finding it hard to hear when you’re talking on the phone: Texting is popular these days, so you may not take as many phone calls as you once did. But you might be encountering another early warning sign if you’re having trouble understanding the calls you do take.
- A friend points out that your media devices are getting increasingly louder. Perhaps the volume on your mobile phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or perhaps, you have your TV volume cranked up to max. Typically, it’s a family member or a friend that notices the loud volumes.
- You notice that some sounds become oppressively loud. You may or may not encounter this but if you do, remember that it can be an early warning of hearing loss. If you are experiencing this issue, particularly if it lingers, it’s time for a hearing test.
- You notice it’s hard to make out particular words. This symptom happens when consonants become hard to hear and distinguish. Usually, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are garbled. Sometimes, it’s the s- and f-sounds or p- and t-sounds that get lost.
- When you’re in a busy noisy setting, you have trouble following conversations. This is often an early sign of hearing loss.
- You have trouble hearing high-pitched sounds. Maybe you find your tea kettle has been whistling for five minutes but you didn’t notice it. Or maybe the doorbell rings, and you never notice it. Hearing loss usually impacts particular frequencies usually higher pitched frequencies.
Get a hearing exam
You might have one or more of these early warnings but the only real way to determine the health of your hearing is to get a hearing assessment.
You might be dealing with hearing loss if you are noticing any one of these symptoms. A hearing assessment will be able to reveal what degree of impairment, if any, exists. And then you’ll be better equipped to determine the correct treatment.
This will help you have a much more enjoyable time at that next family get-together.