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

The last time you ate dinner with your family was a difficult experience. It wasn’t because your family was having a difficult time getting along. The problem was the noise, which was making it hard to hear anything. So you weren’t able to have very much enjoyable conversation with any of your family members. The whole experience was incredibly aggravating. You feel like the room’s acoustics played a big part. But you’re also willing to accept that your hearing could be starting to go.

It’s not generally recommended to try to self diagnose hearing loss because it generally isn’t possible. But you should pay attention to some early warning signs. When enough of these red flags surface, it’s worth making an appointment to get examined by a hearing specialist.

Early Signs of Hearing Loss

Several of the indications of hearing loss are subtle. But if you should find yourself noticing any of the items on the following list, you just may be experiencing some degree of hearing loss.

Some of the most prevalent early signs of hearing impairment might include:

  • You frequently need people to repeat what they said. If you find yourself repeatedly asking people to speak up, repeat themselves, or slow down when they talk, this is particularly true. You might not even realize you’re making such frequent requests, but it can certainly be an early sign of diminishing hearing.
  • High pitched sounds are difficult to hear. Things like a whistling teapot or ringing doorbell sometimes go undetected for several minutes or more. Particular frequencies (frequently high pitched) will typically be the first to fade with early hearing loss.
  • Someone observes that the volume on your media devices is getting louder and louder. Perhaps the volume on your phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or perhaps your TV speakers are maxed out. Usually, you’re not the one that observes the loud volume, it’s your kids, maybe your neighbor, or your friends.
  • It’s suddenly very difficult to understand phone calls: Nowadays, due to texting, we use the phone much less than we once did. But if you’re having difficulty understanding the phone calls you do receive (even with the volume turned all the way up), you may be facing another red flag for your hearing.
  • You hear some ringing in your ears: This ringing, which can also be the sound of thumping, screeching, buzzing, or other noises, is technically known as tinnitus. Tinnitus is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, but not always so if your ears are ringing, a hearing test is probably in order.
  • Certain words seem harder to hear than others. 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 have a tough time hearing conversations in a noisy or crowded place. In the “family dinner” example above, this specific thing occurred and it’s definitely an early warning sign.
  • Certain sounds seem so loud that they’re intolerable. It’s one of the more uncommon early warning signs linked to loss of hearing, but hyperacusis is common enough that you might find yourself encountering its symptoms. It can be an early sign of hearing loss if certain sounds seem really loud especially if it lasts for an extended period of time.
  • It’s Time to Get a Hearing Exam

    No matter how many of these early warning signs you may encounter, there’s really only one way to recognize, with confidence, whether your hearing is fading: get a hearing test.

    Generally speaking, any single one of these early warning signs could be verification that you’re developing some kind of hearing impairment. What level of hearing loss you may be dealing with can only be established with a hearing evaluation. Then it will become more clear what needs to be done about it.

    This means your next family get together can be much 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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