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Your last family dinner was frustrating. It wasn’t because your family was having a hard time getting along. No, the source of the difficulty was simple: it was noisy, and you couldn’t hear anything. So you didn’t get the details about Nancy’s promotion, and you didn’t have a chance to ask about Jay’s new puppy. It was frustrating. For the most part, you blame the acoustics. But you can’t entirely discount the possibility that maybe your hearing is starting to go bad.

It’s not generally recommended to try to self diagnose hearing loss because it generally isn’t possible. But there are some early warning signs you should keep your eye on. If some of these warning signs surface, it’s probably time to have your hearing checked.

Early Signs of Hearing Loss

Some of the signs of hearing loss are subtle. But if you happen to find yourself noticing 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:

  • Certain sounds seem so loud that they’re unbearable. It’s one of the more uncommon early warning signs linked to loss of hearing, but hyperacusis is common enough that you may find yourself encountering its symptoms. If specific sounds become intolerably loud (especially if the issue doesn’t resolve itself in short order), that could be an early hearing loss symptom.
  • When you’re in a loud crowded place, conversations often get lost. This is exactly what occurred during the “family dinner” example above, and it’s typically an early sign of hearing problems.
  • You hear some that your ears are ringing: Ringing in your ears is called tinnitus (and, technically, tinnitus can be other sounds too: thumping, buzzing, screeching, humming, and so on). Tinnitus isn’t always connected with hearing problems, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is probably in order.
  • High pitched sounds are difficult to hear. Things like a whistling teapot or ringing doorbell frequently go unnoticed for several minutes or more. Specific frequencies (frequently high pitched) will typically be the first to fade with early hearing loss.
  • Certain words seem harder to hear than others. This red flag frequently pops up because consonants are starting to sound similar, or, at least, becoming harder to differentiate. Usually, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are muffled. It can also often be the p- and t- sounds or the s- and f- sounds
  • You frequently need people to repeat what they said. If you find yourself repeatedly asking people to talk louder, repeat what they said, or slow down when they speak, this is particularly true. Often, you might not even notice how frequently this is happening and you may miss this warning sign.
  • Phone calls suddenly seem muffled and hard to comprehend: 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 turned all the way up on your phone and you’re still having trouble hearing calls, it’s probably an early warning of 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. Possibly it’s your TV that’s at max volume. Usually, it’s a friend, neighbor, or a member of your family that makes you aware of the increasing volumes.
  • It’s Time to Get a Hearing Test

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

    Generally speaking, any single one of these early warning signs could be evidence that you’re developing some kind of hearing loss. A hearing test will be able to tell what level of impairment, if any, is present. Then it will become more clear what needs to be done about it.

    This will make your next family gathering a lot easier and more fun.

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