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Your last family dinner was frustrating. It wasn’t because your family was having a difficult time getting along. No, the source of the frustration 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 of your family members. It was frustrating. You feel like the room’s acoustics played a big part. But you can’t totally ignore the possibility that perhaps your hearing is starting to go bad.

It’s not typically recommended to try 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 show up, it’s most likely time to get your hearing examined.

Early Signs of Hearing Loss

Some of the symptoms of hearing loss are subtle. But you may be dealing with some level of hearing loss if you find yourself noticing some of these signs.

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

  • There’s a ringing in your ears: Ringing in your ears is called tinnitus (and, actually, tinnitus can be other sounds also: screeching, buzzing, humming, thumping, and so on). Tinnitus is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, but not always so if your ears are ringing, a hearing test is most likely in order.
  • It’s suddenly very difficult to comprehend phone calls: People do a lot of texting nowadays, so you might not take as many phone calls as you used to. 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.
  • Some words seem harder to hear than others. When consonants become hard to differentiate this red flag should go up. Usually, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are muffled. At times, it’s the s- and f-sounds or p- and t-sounds that become conflated.
  • Certain sounds seem so loud that they’re unbearable. 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 tend to get lost. This is precisely what happened during the “family dinner” example above, and it’s often an early sign of hearing problems.
  • You have trouble hearing high-pitched sounds. Perhaps you find your teapot has been whistling for a while and you didn’t hear it. Or maybe the doorbell rings, and you never detect it. Distinct frequencies (frequently high pitched) will typically be the first to fade with early hearing loss.
  • You keep needing people to repeat what they said. This is particularly true if you’re asking several people to slow down, repeat what they said, or talk louder. You may not even recognize you’re making such frequent requests, but it can certainly be an early sign of diminishing hearing.
  • Someone makes you aware that you keep turning the volume up. Perhaps the volume on your phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or perhaps your TV speakers are maxed out. Usually, it’s a friend, neighbor, or a member of your family that makes you recognize the escalating volumes.
  • It’s Time to Get a Hearing Examination

    Regardless of how many of these early warning signs you might encounter, there’s really only one way to know, with confidence, whether your hearing is going bad: get your hearing tested.

    You might very well be going through some level of hearing loss even if you’re only experiencing one of these early warning signs. A hearing examination will be able to tell what level of impairment, if any, is present. And then you’ll be better prepared to find the proper 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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