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

The last time you had dinner with your family was a difficult experience. It wasn’t because your family was having a tough time getting along. The issue was the noise, which was making it hard to hear anything. So you didn’t hear the details about Judy’s promotion, and you didn’t have a chance to ask about Jay’s new puppy. It was frustrating. Mostly, you blame the acoustics. But you’re also willing to admit that your hearing could be starting to wane.

It’s not generally recommended to attempt 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 spring up, it’s worth making an appointment to get checked by a hearing specialist.

Early Signs of Hearing Loss

Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is noticeable. But if you happen to find yourself noticing any of the items on the following list, you just may be dealing with some amount of hearing loss.

Here are some of the warning signs of hearing loss:

  • You notice some ringing in your ears: 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 necessarily linked to hearing issues, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing exam is probably in order.
  • Phone calls suddenly seem muffled and difficult to understand: People do a lot of texting these days, so you might 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 difficulty hearing calls, it’s most likely an early warning of hearing loss.
  • You notice it’s hard to comprehend certain words. This red flag often pops up because consonants are beginning to sound similar, or, at least, becoming difficult to differentiate. Usually, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are muffled. Sometimes, it’s the s- and f-sounds or p- and t-sounds that become conflated.
  • Someone makes you realize that you keep turning the volume up. Perhaps you keep turning up the volume on your mobile device. Or maybe your TV speakers are maxed out. Usually, you’re not the one that notices the loud volume, it’s your children, maybe your neighbor, or your friends.
  • When you’re in a noisy crowded place, conversations tend to get lost. In the “family dinner” example above, this exact thing happened and it’s certainly an early warning sign.
  • You have trouble hearing high-pitched sounds. Maybe you find your tea kettle has been whistling for a while and you didn’t hear it. Or perhaps the doorbell rings, and you never detect it. Early hearing loss is normally most recognizable in particular (and often high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
  • Certain sounds seem so loud that they’re intolerable. 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 unbearably loud (especially if the issue doesn’t resolve itself in short order), that could be an early hearing loss symptom.
  • You keep asking people to repeat themselves. If you find yourself repeatedly asking people to talk louder, repeat themselves, or slow down when they speak, this is especially true. You may not even recognize you’re making such frequent requests, but it can definitely be an early sign of diminishing hearing.
  • It’s Time to Get a Hearing Exam

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

    You may very well be experiencing some amount of hearing loss even if you’re only noticing 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 equipped to get the right treatment.

    This means your next family get together can be a great deal 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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