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

Your last family dinner 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 hard to hear anything. So you weren’t able to have very much enjoyable conversation with any members of your family. It was irritating. For the most part, you blame the acoustics. But you can’t totally discount the possibility that maybe your hearing is starting to go bad.

It’s not generally recommended to attempt to self diagnose hearing loss because it generally isn’t possible. 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 have your hearing tested.

Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs

Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is obvious. But you may be going through some degree of hearing loss if you find yourself detecting some of these signs.

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

  • 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 talk louder. You might not even notice you’re making such regular requests, but it can certainly be an early sign of diminishing hearing.
  • You have trouble hearing high-pitched sounds. Things like a ringing doorbell or a whistling teapot sometimes go undetected for several minutes or more. Particular frequencies (frequently high pitched) will typically be the first to go with early hearing loss.
  • You notice some that your ears are ringing: This ringing, which can also be the sound of thumping, screeching, buzzing, or other sounds, is technically named tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t necessarily associated with hearing issues, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing exam is most likely in order.
  • Someone observes that the volume on your media devices gets louder and louder. Perhaps the volume on your phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or perhaps your TV speakers are maxed out. Typically, it’s a friend, neighbor, or a family member that makes you recognize the escalating volumes.
  • Certain words seem harder to hear than others. This warning sign frequently appears because consonants are beginning to sound similar, or, at least, becoming difficult to differentiate. The th- and sh- sounds are very commonly muffled. It can also commonly be the p- and t- sounds or the s- and f- sounds
  • It’s suddenly very hard to comprehend phone calls: People do a lot of texting these days, so you may not take as many phone calls as you once did. But if you have the volume cranked all the way up on your phone and you’re still having trouble hearing calls, it’s most likely an early warning of hearing loss.
  • You find that some sounds become unbearably loud. This early warning sign is less common, but hyperacusis is common enough that you might find yourself experiencing its symptoms. It can be an early sign of hearing loss if certain sounds seem really loud particularly if it lasts for an extended period of time.
  • When you’re in a noisy crowded place, conversations often get lost. In the “family dinner” illustration above, this specific thing occurred and it’s certainly an early warning sign.
  • It’s Time to Get a Hearing Examination

    You still can’t be certain whether you’re confronting hearing loss even if you are encountering some of these early warning signs. You will need to get a hearing examination to know for sure.

    You might very well be going through some amount of hearing loss even if you’re only noticing one of these early warning signs. What level of hearing loss you might be dealing with can only be determined with a hearing test. And then you’ll be better equipped to find the right treatment.

    This will make your next family get together a lot smoother 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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