Your last family get together was frustrating. Not because of any family drama (though there’s always a bit of that). The issue was the noise, which was making it difficult to hear anything. So you weren’t able to have very much enjoyable conversation with any members of your family. It was frustrating. You feel like the room’s acoustics played a big part. But you’re also willing to accept that your hearing may be starting to go.
It isn’t typically recommended to attempt to self diagnose hearing loss because it usually isn’t possible. But there are some 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.
Early Signs of Hearing Loss
Some of the signs of hearing loss are subtle. But if you happen to find yourself noticing any of the items on the following list, you just may be dealing with some level of hearing loss.
Here are a few of the warning signs of hearing loss:
- Phone calls suddenly seem muffled and difficult to understand: People do a lot of texting these days, so you may not take as many phone calls as you once did. But if you’re having trouble understanding the phone calls you do get (even with the volume cranked all the way up), you might be confronting another red flag for your hearing.
- Someone makes you realize that you keep turning up the volume on your media. Perhaps you keep turning up the volume on your mobile phone. Maybe it’s your TV that’s at max volume. Typically, it’s a friend, neighbor, or a member of your family that makes you aware of the increasing volumes.
- You have a hard time making out interactions in a noisy or crowded place. In the “family dinner” illustration above, this specific thing occurred and it’s definitely an early warning sign.
- There’s a ringing in your ears: This ringing, which can also be the sound of thumping, screeching, buzzing, or other sounds, is technically known as tinnitus. Tinnitus is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, but not always so if your ears are ringing, a hearing exam is probably in order.
- You notice it’s difficult to comprehend particular words. When consonants become hard to differentiate this red flag should go up. Usually, 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.
- You frequently need people to repeat what they said. This is especially true if you’re asking multiple people to slow down, repeat what they said, or speak up. You might not even recognize you’re making such frequent 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 unusual early warning signs related to loss of hearing, 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 especially if it lasts for an extended period of time.
It’s Time to Get a Hearing Test
Regardless of how many of these early warning signs you might experience, there’s really only one way to know, with confidence, whether your hearing is fading: get a hearing test.
You might very well be going through some level of hearing loss even if you’re only experiencing one of these early warning signs. What level of hearing impairment you may be dealing with can only be determined with a hearing evaluation. Then it will become more evident what needs to be done about it.
This will make your next family gathering a lot easier and more fun.