Hearing Health Blog

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Your last family get together was discouraging. It wasn’t because your family was having a difficult time getting along. No, the source of the frustration was simple: it was loud, and you couldn’t hear a thing. So you didn’t get 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. For the most part, you blame the acoustics. But you’re also willing to admit that your hearing might be starting to go.

It isn’t typically recommended to try to self diagnose hearing loss because it generally isn’t possible. But you should keep your eye out for some early warning signs. If some of these warning signs appear, it’s most likely time to get your hearing checked.

Early Signs of Hearing Loss

Some of the indications of hearing loss are subtle. But if you should find yourself noticing any of the items on the following list, you just might be dealing with some degree of hearing loss.

Here are some of the warning signs of hearing loss:

  • You have trouble hearing high-pitched sounds. Perhaps you find your tea kettle has been whistling for five minutes without your knowledge. Or maybe the doorbell rings, and you never detect it. Specific frequencies (frequently high pitched) will typically be the first to go with early hearing loss.
  • You find it’s difficult to understand particular words. This red flag frequently appears because consonants are starting to sound similar, or, at least, becoming harder to differentiate. The th- and sh- sounds are very commonly muffled. At times, it’s the s- and f-sounds or p- and t-sounds that become conflated.
  • You experience some that your ears are ringing: This ringing, which can also be the sound of thumping, screeching, buzzing, or other sounds, is technically called tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t always connected with hearing issues, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is probably in order.
  • Certain sounds seem so loud that they’re unbearable. It’s one of the more uncommon early warning signs linked to hearing loss, but hyperacusis is common enough that you may find yourself encountering its symptoms. If particular sounds become intolerably loud (especially if the issue doesn’t resolve itself in short order), that could be an early hearing loss symptom.
  • You keep needing people to repeat what they said. This is especially true if you’re asking several people to slow down, repeat what they said, or speak up. Often, you may not even notice how often this is happening and you may miss this red flag.
  • Someone observes that the volume on your media devices gets louder and louder. Maybe the volume on your phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or perhaps your TV speakers are maxed out. In most cases, you’re not the one that observes the loud volume, it’s your kids, maybe your neighbor, or your friends.
  • It’s suddenly very hard to understand phone calls: Today, because of texting, we use the phone much less than we once did. But if you have the volume cranked 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.
  • When you’re in a noisy crowded place, conversations tend to get lost. This is exactly what occurred during the “family dinner” illustration above, and it’s typically an early sign of hearing problems.
  • Next Up: Get a Test

    No matter how many of these early warning signs you may encounter, there’s really only one way to recognize, with certainty, whether your hearing is fading: get a hearing test.

    You might very well be going through some amount of hearing loss even if you’re only experiencing one of these early warning signs. A hearing test will be able to tell what level of impairment, if any, is present. And then you’ll be better prepared to find the best treatment.

    This will make your next family get together a lot easier and more enjoyable.

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