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

The last time you ate dinner with your family was a hard experience. It wasn’t because your family was having a hard time getting along. The problem was the noise, which was making it hard to hear anything. So you weren’t able to have very much meaningful conversation with any of your family members. The whole experience was incredibly aggravating. 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 go.

It isn’t generally advisable to attempt to self diagnose hearing loss because it usually isn’t possible. But there are a few early warning signs you should keep on your radar. When enough of these red flags surface, it’s worth making an appointment to get examined by a hearing professional.

Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs

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

Some of the most prevalent early signs of bad hearing may include:

  • Certain words seem harder to hear than others. When consonants become difficult to differentiate this red flag should go up. 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.
  • You notice that some sounds become intolerably loud. It’s one of the more uncommon early warning signs linked to hearing loss, but hyperacusis is common enough that you may find yourself experiencing its symptoms. It can be an early sign of hearing loss if certain sounds seem really loud especially if it lasts for an extended period of time.
  • You have trouble hearing high-pitched sounds. Things like a whistling teapot or ringing doorbell sometimes go undetected for several minutes or more. Particular frequencies (often high pitched) will usually be the first to go with early hearing loss.
  • You have a tough time making out interactions in a crowded or noisy place. In the “family dinner” illustration above, this specific thing happened and it’s certainly an early warning sign.
  • You keep asking people to repeat themselves. This is especially true if you’re asking multiple people to slow down, repeat what they said, or talk louder. Sometimes, you may not even acknowledge how frequently this is occurring and you may miss this red flag.
  • You experience some that your ears are ringing: 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 always connected with hearing problems, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is most likely in order.
  • Phone calls suddenly seem muffled and difficult to understand: People do a lot of texting nowadays, so you may 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 difficulty hearing calls, it’s probably an early warning of hearing loss.
  • Someone makes you aware that you keep turning the volume up. Perhaps you keep turning up the volume on your mobile device. Maybe it’s your TV that’s at max volume. Usually, it’s a friend, neighbor, or a family member that makes you recognize the increasing volumes.
  • Next Up: Get a Test

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

    In general, any single one of these early warning signs could be verification that you’re developing some type of hearing impairment. What level of hearing loss you might be dealing with can only be determined with a hearing test. And then you’ll be better equipped to find the correct treatment.

    This means your next family get together can be much 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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