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 noisy, and you couldn’t hear a thing. So you weren’t able to have very much enjoyable conversation with any members of your family. The whole experience was extremely aggravating. You feel like the room’s acoustics played a big part. But you can’t totally discount the possibility that maybe your hearing is starting to go bad.
It can be very difficult to self-diagnose hearing loss (that’s why, generally, it’s not recommended). But there are some early warning signs you should keep your eye on. If some of these warning signs surface, it’s most likely time to get your hearing tested.
Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs
Some of the symptoms of hearing loss are subtle. But you could be dealing with 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 have a tough time hearing conversations in a crowded or noisy place. In the “family dinner” illustration above, this specific thing happened and it’s definitely an early warning sign.
- You find it’s difficult to understand particular words. When consonants become difficult to differentiate this red flag should go up. 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 often need people to repeat what they said. This is especially true if you’re asking multiple people to slow down, repeat what they said, or speak up. Often, you might not even notice how often this is occurring and you may miss this red flag.
- You have trouble hearing high-pitched sounds. Maybe you find your tea kettle has been whistling for a while and you didn’t hear it. Or maybe the doorbell rings, and you never notice it. Specific frequencies (often high pitched) will typically be the first to go with early hearing loss.
- There’s a ringing in your ears: Ringing in your ears is called tinnitus (and, actually, tinnitus can be other sounds too: screeching, buzzing, humming, thumping, and so on). Tinnitus isn’t always related to hearing problems, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is most likely in order.
It’s Time to Get a Hearing Examination
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 test to know for sure.
You might very well be experiencing 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. Then it will become more evident what needs to be done about it.
This means your next family gathering can be far more enjoyable.