Man with hearing loss trying to hear at the dinner table with his family.

The last time you ate dinner with your family was a hard experience. It wasn’t because your family was having a difficult time getting along. No, the source of the difficulty was simple: it was loud, and you couldn’t hear anything. So you didn’t get the details about Nancy’s promotion, and you didn’t have an opportunity to ask about Todd’s new puppy. The whole experience was extremely aggravating. For the most part, you blame the acoustics. But you’re also willing to accept that your hearing could be starting to wane.

It can be very difficult to self-diagnose hearing loss (that’s why, generally, it’s not recommended). But you should pay attention to some early warning signs. If some of these warning signs develop, it’s probably time to have your hearing checked.

Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs

Some of the symptoms of hearing loss are subtle. But if you happen to find yourself noticing any of the items on the following list, you just might be experiencing some degree of hearing loss.

Here are a few of the warning signs of hearing loss:

  • You notice that certain sounds become intolerably loud. It’s one of the more uncommon early warning signs linked to hearing loss, but hyperacusis is common enough that you may find yourself experiencing its symptoms. If distinct sounds become unbearably loud (especially if the issue doesn’t resolve itself in short order), that could be an early hearing loss symptom.
  • Some words seem harder to hear than others. This warning sign often pops up because consonants are starting to sound similar, or, at least, becoming harder to differentiate. Usually, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are muffled. It can also commonly be the p- and t- sounds or the s- and f- sounds
  • You have trouble hearing high-pitched sounds. Maybe you find your teapot has been whistling for five minutes and you didn’t hear it. Or perhaps the doorbell rings, and you never notice it. Specific frequencies (frequently high pitched) will usually be the first to go with early hearing loss.
  • Someone notices that the volume on your media devices is getting louder and louder. Maybe you keep turning the volume up on your mobile phone. Maybe it’s your TV that’s at full volume. Typically, it’s a friend, neighbor, or a member of your family that makes you aware of the escalating volumes.
  • You experience some ringing in your ears: This ringing, which can also be the sound of screeching, thumping, buzzing, or other noises, is technically called tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t always associated with hearing issues, but it is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is probably in order.
  • It’s suddenly very hard to comprehend phone calls: People do a lot of texting nowadays, so you may not take as many phone calls as you used to. But if you’re having difficulty comprehending the phone calls you do get (even with the volume turned all the way up), you might be dealing with another red flag for your hearing.
  • You have a difficult time making out interactions in a noisy or crowded place. This is exactly what occurred during the “family dinner” example above, and it’s often an early sign of hearing problems.
  • You keep asking 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 especially true. You might not even recognize you’re making such regular requests, but it can definitely be an early sign of diminishing hearing.
  • It’s Time to Get a Hearing Test

    No matter how many of these early warning signs you might encounter, there’s really only one way to know, with certainty, whether your hearing is going bad: get your hearing tested.

    You could very well be experiencing some amount of hearing loss even if you’re only noticing one of these early warning signs. What level of hearing impairment you may be dealing with can only be established with a hearing test. Then it will become more obvious what has to be done about it.

    This will make your next family gathering a lot easier and more fun.

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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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