The last time you had dinner with your family was a hard experience. Not because of any family drama (though there’s always a little bit of that). 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 members of your family. It was frustrating. You feel like the room’s acoustics played a big part. But you’re also willing to admit that your hearing might 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. If some of these warning signs appear, it’s most likely time to have your hearing examined.
Early Signs of Hearing Loss
Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is obvious. But if you happen to find yourself noticing any of the items on the following list, you just may be experiencing some amount of hearing loss.
Some of the most common early signs of bad hearing might include:
- When you’re in a loud crowded place, conversations tend to get lost. This is exactly what happened during the “family dinner” illustration above, and it’s often an early sign of trouble with hearing.
- Someone observes that the volume on your media devices is getting louder and louder. Maybe you keep turning the volume up on your mobile phone. Maybe it’s your TV that’s at max volume. Usually, you’re not the one that observes the loud volume, it’s your children, maybe your neighbor, or your friends.
- You find it’s tough to understand certain words. This red flag often appears because consonants are beginning to sound similar, or, at least, becoming harder to differentiate. The th- and sh- sounds are very commonly muffled. It can also often be the p- and t- sounds or the s- and f- sounds
- You often need people to repeat what they said. This is particularly true if you’re asking multiple people to slow down, say something again, or speak up. Sometimes, you might not even acknowledge how often this is occurring and you may miss this warning sign.
- 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 encountering its symptoms. If distinct sounds become unbearably loud (especially if the issue doesn’t resolve itself in short order), that could be an early hearing loss symptom.
Next Up: Get a Test
No matter how many of these early warning signs you may encounter, there’s really only one way to know, with confidence, whether your hearing is going bad: get a hearing test.
Generally speaking, any single one of these early warning signs could be evidence that you’re developing some type of hearing impairment. What level of hearing loss you might be dealing with can only be established with a hearing evaluation. And then you’ll be better prepared to get the right treatment.
This will make your next family get together a lot easier and more fun.