Your last family get together was frustrating. It wasn’t because your family was having a tough time getting along. No, the source of the difficulty was simple: it was noisy, and you couldn’t hear anything. So you didn’t hear the details about Judy’s promotion, and you didn’t have an opportunity to ask about Todd’s new cat. The whole experience was incredibly aggravating. You feel like the room’s acoustics played a big part. But you can’t totally ignore the possibility that perhaps your hearing is beginning to go bad.
It isn’t generally advisable to attempt to self diagnose hearing loss because it usually isn’t possible. But you should keep your eye out for some early warning signs. When enough of these red flags emerge, it’s worth making an appointment to get tested by a hearing professional.
Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs
Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is noticeable. But if you happen to find your own experiences reflected in any of the items on the following list, you just may be dealing with some amount of hearing loss.
Here are some of the warning signs of hearing loss:
- High pitched sounds are difficult to hear. Perhaps you find your tea kettle has been whistling for five minutes without your knowledge. Or perhaps the doorbell rings, and you never detect it. Specific frequencies (often high pitched) will typically be the first to fade with early hearing loss.
- Certain sounds seem so loud that they’re intolerable. It’s one of the more uncommon early warning signs associated with 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 particularly if it lasts for an extended period of time.
- Someone notices that the volume on your media devices gets louder and louder. Maybe the volume on your phone keeps getting louder and louder. Possibly 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.
- Phone calls suddenly seem muffled and hard to comprehend: People do a lot of texting nowadays, so you may not take as many phone calls as you once did. But if you have the volume cranked all the way up on your phone and you’re still having difficulty hearing calls, it’s probably an early warning of hearing loss.
- Certain words seem harder to hear than others. When consonants become hard to differentiate this red flag should go up. Normally, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are muffled. At times, it’s the s- and f-sounds or p- and t-sounds that become conflated.
- When you’re in a loud crowded place, conversations tend to get lost. This is exactly what occurred during the “family dinner” illustration above, and it’s often an early sign of hearing problems.
- You frequently need people to repeat what they said. This is especially true if you’re asking several people to slow down, say something again, or talk louder. Often, you may not even notice how frequently this is happening and you may miss this red flag.
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 exam to know for sure.
Generally speaking, even one of these early warning signs could be verification that you’re developing some type of hearing impairment. What level of hearing impairment you might be dealing with can only be determined with a hearing assessment. And then you’ll be better prepared to find the proper treatment.
This will make your next family get together a lot smoother and more fun.