Bananas don’t taste like they once did. That’s because modern banana farmers grow a really different type of banana then they did in the past. Today’s banana can develop easily in a wide variety of climates, are more resilient, and can grow faster. And they taste very different. So why haven’t you noticed the great banana swap? Well, the reality is that it developed slowly, through the years. You never noticed the gradual change.
The same thing can take place with your ears and hearing loss. It’s not like suddenly your hearing is completely gone. In most circumstances of hearing loss, it goes undetected because it develops so slowly.
That’s unfortunate because early treatment can help preserve your hearing. If you are aware that your hearing is in danger, for instance, you might take more precautions to protect it. So it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for these seven signs of waning hearing.
7 signs you should get a hearing exam
Hearing loss isn’t always well understood as it happens slowly over time. It isn’t as if you’ll go to a loud rock concert and the next day find yourself totally incapable of hearing. Recurring exposure to loud sound over a long period of time gradually produces noticeable hearing loss. So keeping an eye on your hearing early will be the best way to safeguard it. You shouldn’t put off on this because untreated hearing loss has been linked to issues such as social separation, depression, and dementia.
These seven indicators are what you should be watching out for. The only way to know for sure is to get a hearing exam, but these indicators might encourage you to make an appointment earlier than you normally would have.
Sign #1: You’re constantly cranking the volume up
Are you constantly cranking up the volume on your devices? Perhaps they’re mixing the sound on your favorite shows differently now, or your favorite artists have begun to mumble. But it’s more likely that you’re compensating for your increasing hearing loss by turning the volume up on your devices.
This is especially the case if your family has also constantly been telling you that the TV is too loud. They can usually notice hearing problems in you sooner than you can.
Sign #2: You failed to hear the doorbell (or a phone call)
It could be an indication that you’re having hearing trouble if you are continuously missing everyday sounds. Some of the most common noises you might miss include:
- Your doorbell (or someone knocking on the door): You thought your friend unexpectedly walked into your house but you in fact missed him knocking.
- Timers and alarms: Did you sleep through your alarm clock ringing? Did the dinner get burned? It might not be because your cook timer or alarm clock is too quiet.
- Your phone: Are you missing text messages? You’re more likely to miss text messages than phone calls since nobody makes calls these days.
If your family and friends have pointed out that they’re a little scared of driving with you because you’re missing so many common sounds (from honking horns to the beeping of a truck in reverse), that could be an indication that it’s time for a hearing exam.
Sign #3: You’re constantly needing people to repeat themselves
Is “What?” or “Pardon?” your most commonly used words? If you’re regularly asking people to repeat themselves, it’s very, very possible it’s not because of them, it’s because of you (and your hearing). This is especially relevant if people do repeat themselves and you still can’t hear what they say. Looks like a hearing test is in order.
Sign #4: Is everybody starting to mumble?
You could also call this sign #3-A, since they go rather well together. You should realize that people most likely aren’t mumbling or talking about you under their breath even if your hearing loss is making it feel like this. It’s stressful to always feel like people are mumbling about you, so it may be a relief to learn they’re actually not. Alternatively, it’s more likely that you’re just having a difficult time hearing what they’re saying.
This can be particularly noticeable if you’re attempting to listen to someone who has a higher pitched voice, or if you have to have a conversation in a noisy space, like a restaurant.
Sign #5: Family members prompt you to get a hearing assessment (or invest in hearing aids)
You probably have a pretty close relationship with your family and friends. And some of them probably have healthy hearing. If your family members (particularly younger) are informing you that something is wrong with your hearing, it’s a good plan to listen to them (no pun intended).
It’s understandable that you would want to rationalize away this advice. Perhaps you tell yourself it was just a bad day or whatever. But you could give your hearing an advantage by taking their advice.
Sign #6: You hear ringing in your ears (or experience vertigo)
Ringing in your ears is a condition called tinnitus. It’s incredibly common. When you have hearing loss, your tinnitus can become extreme for a couple of reasons:
- Damage can trigger both: Both hearing loss and tinnitus can be caused by damage. So you’re more likely to develop tinnitus and hearing loss the more damaged your hearing is.
- Tinnitus is more noticeable when you have hearing loss: In your normal day-to-day life, tinnitus can be overwhelmed by the everyday noises you experience. But as those everyday noises fade to the background (due to hearing loss), the tinnitus becomes comparatively louder and substantially more noticeable.
It could be an indication that you’re dealing with problems with your ears, either way, if you have loud noises in your ears or balance problems and vertigo. This means it’s time to come see us for a hearing assessment.
Sign #7: Socializing leaves you feeling fatigued
Maybe the reason why social interactions have become so tiring is because you’ve always been an introvert. Or it might be possible that you’re not hearing as well as you once did.
When you leave a restaurant or a social affair feeling totally drained, your hearing (or lack thereof) may be the reason why. Your brain is trying to fill in the holes that you can’t hear. This additional effort by your brain can leave you feeling depleted. So you might experience even more exhaustion when you’re in an especially noisy setting.
The first step is getting in touch with us for an appointment
Honestly, hearing damage is normal to everybody to some level. If or when you develop hearing loss is heavily dependent on how well you protect your ears when you’re subjected to loud noise.
So it might be an indication that the banana is changing if you encounter any of these signs. Fortunately, there’s something you can do about it: come in and get evaluated! The sooner your hearing loss is identified, the sooner you’ll be able to get treatment.