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

Your last family get together was discouraging. It wasn’t because your family was having a difficult time getting along. 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 of your family members. The whole experience was extremely aggravating. For the most part, you blame the acoustics. But you’re also willing to admit that your hearing could be starting to wane.

It can be extremely challenging to self-diagnose hearing loss (that’s why, typically, it’s not recommended). But you should pay attention to some early warning signs. When enough of these red flags emerge, it’s worth making an appointment to get tested by a hearing specialist.

Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs

Several of the signs of hearing loss are subtle. But you might be dealing with some amount of hearing loss if you find yourself recognizing some of these signs.

Some of the most common early signs of bad hearing may include:

  • It’s suddenly very hard to understand phone calls: People do a lot of texting these days, so you might not take as many phone calls as you used to. But if you’re having difficulty comprehending the phone calls you do receive (even with the volume cranked all the way up), you may be facing another red flag for your hearing.
  • You notice it’s difficult to understand certain words. This warning sign frequently appears 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 a hard time following interactions in a crowded or noisy place. This is precisely what happened during the “family dinner” illustration above, and it’s often an early sign of hearing problems.
  • You find that some 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 might find yourself experiencing its symptoms. If particular sounds become intolerably loud (especially if the issue doesn’t resolve itself in short order), that could be an early hearing loss symptom.
  • Someone makes you realize that you keep turning up the volume on your media. Perhaps you keep turning up the volume on your mobile phone. Or maybe your TV speakers are maxed out. In most cases, you’re not the one that notices the loud volume, it’s your children, maybe your neighbor, or your friends.
  • You keep asking 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 might not even acknowledge how frequently this is occurring and you may miss this red flag.
  • You hear some that your ears are ringing: Ringing in your ears is known as tinnitus (and, technically, tinnitus can be other sounds also: screeching, buzzing, humming, thumping, and so on). Tinnitus isn’t always associated with hearing problems, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing exam is most likely in order.
  • You have difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds. Things like a whistling teapot or ringing doorbell sometimes go undetected for several minutes or more. Specific frequencies (frequently high pitched) will usually be the first to fade with early hearing loss.

It’s Time to Get a Hearing Test

You still can’t be certain whether you’re dealing with 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.

Generally speaking, even one of these early warning signs could be an indication that you’re developing some type of hearing impairment. What level of hearing impairment you may be dealing with can only be determined with a hearing test. Then it will become more evident what has to be done about it.

This will make your next family get together 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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