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“Man

The last time you had dinner with your family was a hard experience. It wasn’t because your family was having a tough time getting along. No, the source of the frustration was simple: it was noisy, and you couldn’t hear anything. So you weren’t able to have very much enjoyable conversation with any members of your family. It was irritating. You feel like the room’s acoustics played a big part. But you can’t completely dismiss the possibility that perhaps your hearing is beginning to go bad.

It can be very difficult to self-diagnose hearing loss (that’s why, typically, it’s not advisable). But you should keep your eye out for some early warning signs. If some of these warning signs appear, it’s most likely time to have your hearing checked.

Early Signs of Hearing Loss

Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is evident. But if you happen to find your own experiences reflected in any of the items on the following list, you just might be going through some degree of hearing loss.

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

  • 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. Possibly it’s your TV that’s at full volume. Usually, you’re not the one that observes the loud volume, it’s your children, maybe your neighbor, or your friends.
  • Certain words seem harder to hear than others. This red flag frequently 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 commonly be the p- and t- sounds or the s- and f- sounds
  • Phone calls suddenly seem muffled and difficult to understand: Nowadays, due to texting, we use the phone a lot less than we 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 frequently need people to repeat what they said. If you find yourself repeatedly asking people to talk louder, 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 definitely be an early sign of diminishing hearing.
  • Certain sounds seem so loud that they’re intolerable. It’s one of the more uncommon early warning signs related 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 particularly if it lasts for an extended period of time.
  • High pitched sounds are difficult to hear. Maybe you find your teapot has been whistling for five minutes and you didn’t hear it. Or maybe the doorbell rings, and you never detect it. Early hearing loss is usually most noticeable in specific (and often high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
  • There’s a ringing in your ears: This ringing, which can also be the sound of thumping, screeching, buzzing, or other sounds, is technically called tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t always linked to hearing problems, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing exam is probably in order.
  • When you’re in a noisy crowded place, conversations often get lost. In the “family dinner” illustration above, this specific thing happened and it’s certainly an early warning sign.
  • Next Up: Get a Examination

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

    You could 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, exists. Then it will become more evident what needs to be done about it.

    This will make your next family get together a lot easier and more enjoyable.

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