Your last family get together was disheartening. Not because of any family drama (though there’s always some of that). The problem was the noise, which was making it difficult to hear anything. So you didn’t hear the details about Nancy’s promotion, and you didn’t have a chance to ask about Todd’s new cat. It was irritating. You feel like the room’s acoustics played a big part. But you can’t completely discount the possibility that perhaps your hearing is starting to go bad.

It can be incredibly difficult to self-diagnose hearing loss (that’s why, typically, it’s not advisable). But you should pay attention to some early warning signs. If some of these warning signs surface, it’s most likely time to have your hearing examined.

Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs

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

Here are some of the warning signs of hearing loss:

  • You have difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds. Perhaps you find your tea kettle has been whistling for a while and you didn’t hear it. Or perhaps the doorbell rings, and you never notice it. Early hearing loss is normally most noticeable in specific (and often high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
  • You find that certain sounds become intolerably loud. This early warning sign is less common, but hyperacusis is common enough that you may find yourself encountering its symptoms. If specific sounds become intolerably loud (especially if the issue doesn’t resolve itself in short order), that could be an early hearing loss symptom.
  • Someone notices that the volume on your media devices is getting louder and louder. Maybe the volume on your phone keeps getting louder and louder. 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.
  • You hear some ringing in your ears: Ringing in your ears is known as tinnitus (and, actually, tinnitus can be other sounds too: thumping, buzzing, screeching, humming, and so on). Tinnitus is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, but not always so if you have a ringing in your ears, a hearing test is probably in order.
  • Certain words seem harder to hear than others. This warning sign often appears because consonants are beginning to sound similar, or, at least, becoming harder to differentiate. The th- and sh- sounds are very commonly muffled. It can also commonly be the p- and t- sounds or the s- and f- sounds
  • Phone calls suddenly seem muffled and difficult to understand: 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 cranked all the way up on your phone and you’re still having trouble hearing calls, it’s probably an early warning of hearing loss.
  • You frequently need people to repeat what they said. If you find yourself continually asking people to talk louder, repeat themselves, or slow down when they talk, this is particularly true. Sometimes, you may not even notice how frequently this is happening and you might miss this red flag.
  • When you’re in a noisy crowded place, conversations tend to get lost. This is precisely what happened during the “family dinner” illustration above, and it’s typically an early sign of hearing problems.
  • Next Up: Take a Test

    You still can’t be certain whether you’re confronting 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.

    Generally speaking, any single one of these early warning signs could be verification that you’re developing some type of hearing loss. A hearing test will be able to tell what level of impairment, if any, exists. Then it will become more clear what has to be done about it.

    This means your next family gathering can be far 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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