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Your last family get together was discouraging. Not because of any intra-family drama (though there’s always some of that). The issue was the noise, which was making it difficult to hear anything. So you weren’t able to have very much meaningful conversation with any members of your family. The whole experience was extremely aggravating. For the most part, you blame the acoustics. But you can’t entirely dismiss the possibility that perhaps your hearing is starting to go bad.

It can be incredibly challenging to self-diagnose hearing loss (that’s why, typically, it’s not advisable). But you should keep your eye out for some early warning signs. If some of these warning signs surface, it’s most likely time to get your hearing tested.

Early Signs of Hearing Loss

Several of the signs of hearing loss are subtle. But you might be going through some level of hearing loss if you find yourself noticing some of these signs.

Here are some of the warning signs of hearing loss:

  • You keep asking people to repeat themselves. If you find yourself continually asking people to talk louder, repeat themselves, or slow down when they speak, this is particularly true. Sometimes, you may not even acknowledge how often this is occurring and you might miss this red flag.
  • High pitched sounds are difficult to hear. Perhaps you find your teapot has been whistling for a while and you didn’t hear it. Or maybe the doorbell rings, and you never notice it. Particular frequencies (frequently high pitched) will usually be the first to go with early hearing loss.
  • You notice that certain sounds become intolerably loud. 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 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. When consonants become difficult to differentiate this red flag should go up. Usually, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are muffled. It can also often be the p- and t- sounds or the s- and f- sounds
  • There’s a ringing in your ears: This ringing, which can also be the sound of thumping, screeching, buzzing, or other sounds, is technically named tinnitus. Tinnitus is frequently 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.
  • You have a tough time making out conversations in a crowded or noisy place. In the “family dinner” illustration above, this specific thing occurred and it’s certainly an early warning sign.
  • Someone makes you realize that you keep turning up the volume on your media. Maybe you keep turning the volume up on your mobile phone. Or perhaps your TV speakers are maxed out. Typically, it’s a friend, neighbor, or a member of your family that makes you recognize the escalating volumes.
  • It’s suddenly very hard to understand phone calls: People do a lot of texting these days, so you may 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 difficulty hearing calls, it’s probably an early warning of hearing loss.
  • Next Up: Take a Exam

    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 fading: get your hearing tested.

    Broadly speaking, any single one of these early warning signs could be evidence that you’re developing some kind of hearing impairment. A hearing test will be able to tell what level of impairment, if any, is present. And then you’ll be better equipped to find the correct treatment.

    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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