Bananas don’t taste like they once did. There are very different varieties of bananas being grown nowadays by banana farmers. These new bananas develop faster, are more resilient, and can thrive in a wider variety of climates. And they taste quite different. So how did this change occur without us detecting it? Well, the change wasn’t a quick one. You never noticed the gradual switch.
The same thing can occur with your ears and hearing loss. It’s not like you get up one day and can’t hear a thing. For the majority of people, hearing loss develops gradually, frequently so slowly that you don’t really realize what’s taking place.
Early treatment can really help maintain your hearing so that’s a regrettable truth. If you know that your hearing is at risk, for instance, you may take more safeguards to protect it. So it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for these seven signs of diminishing hearing.
You should get your hearing evaluated if you experience any of these 7 signs
Hearing loss happens slowly and over time, but it’s not always well understood. It’s not like you’ll be totally incapable of hearing the day after you went to that big rock concert. Damage to your hearing (from that rock concert and other loud noises) builds up over time. So monitoring your hearing early will be the best way to protect it. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to an increased danger of problems like dementia, social solitude, and depression, so it’s not something you want to mess around with.
You should, uh, keep your ear to the ground for these seven signs that you may be experiencing hearing loss. A hearing test is the only way to be sure, but maybe these warning signs will prompt you to take some early action.
Sign #1: You’re constantly cranking the volume up
Do you find yourself continuously reaching for the volume controls? Maybe they’re mixing the sound on your favorite shows differently now, or your favorite actors have started to mumble. But it’s more likely that you’re compensating for your increasing hearing loss by cranking the volume up on your devices.
This is particularly the case if your family has also regularly been telling you that the TV is too loud. They will frequently observe your hearing loss before you become aware of it.
Sign #2: You missed the doorbell (or a phone call)
If you’re regularly missing some day to day sounds, that might be an indication of trouble with your ears. Here are a few common sounds you could be missing:
- Someone knocking on your door or ringing the doorbell: When your best friend suddenly walks into your house, take into account the possibility that they did in fact knock, you just missed it.
- Alarms and timers: Did you burn dinner or sleep or sleep through the ringing of your alarm clock? It might not be because your cook timer or alarm clock is not loud enough.
- Your phone: Text messages coming to you but you’re missing them? No one makes phone calls nowadays, so you’re more likely to miss a text message than a phone call.
If your loved ones have stated that they’re kind of afraid of driving with you because you’re missing so many day to day sounds (from honking horns to the beeping of a truck in reverse), that could be an indication that it’s time for a hearing test.
Sign #3: You keep asking people to repeat what they said
Is “What?” or “Pardon?” your most regularly used words? If you’re regularly asking people to repeat what they said, it’s very, very possible it’s not because of them, it’s because of you (and your hearing). If people do repeat what they said and you still don’t hear them this is particularly relevant. Seems like a hearing test is in order.
Sign #4: It sounds as if everybody’s always mumbling
You could also call this sign #3-A, since they go rather well together. You should know that people probably aren’t mumbling or talking about you under their breath even if your hearing loss is making it feel like this. It’s stressful to always feel like people are mumbling about you, so it may be a comfort to learn they’re actually not. The reality is that you’re just not hearing them because of your hearing loss.
This can be particularly pronounced if you’re attempting to listen to somebody who has a higher pitched voice, or if you need to have a conversation in a noisy space, such as a restaurant.
Sign #5: Family members prompt you to take a hearing assessment (or get hearing aids)
Your friends and family probably know you pretty well. It’s likely that at least some of them have fairly healthy hearing. It’s a smart plan to pay attention to your family members (particularly the younger ones) if they are telling you something is going on with your hearing.
It’s understandable that you would want to rationalize away this proposal. Perhaps you feel like they just caught you on a bad day or something. But you could do your hearing a favor by taking their advice.
Sign #6: Your ears are ringing or you’re experiencing balance problems
When you’re experiencing ringing in your ears, you’re dealing with a condition called tinnitus. It’s extremely common. There are a couple of reasons why you might experience more ringing in your ears when you have hearing loss:
- Both can be caused by damage: Damage causes both tinnitus and hearing loss. So you’re more likely to develop tinnitus and hearing loss the more damaged your hearing is.
- Hearing loss can make tinnitus more noticeable: Tinnitus can be drowned-out by everyday noises in your day-to-day life. But as those everyday noises recede to the background (due to hearing loss), the tinnitus becomes relatively louder and considerably more noticeable.
In either case, if you’re noticing loud ringing, or even dizziness and vertigo, it could be a sign that something is going on in your ears. And that means (no surprise here), yes, you should come see us for a hearing test.
Sign #7: Socializing leaves you feeling fatigued
Maybe the reason why social interactions have become so exhausting is because you’ve always been an introvert. Or it might be possible that you’re not hearing as clearly as you used to.
Your hearing could be the reason why you feel wiped out after leaving a restaurant or social event. Your brain is trying to fill in the gaps that you can’t hear. This is fatiguing (no matter how good your brain is), especially over the long run. So when you’re in particularly challenging situations (such as a noisy space), you may experience even more fatigue.
The first step is calling us for an appointment
The truth is that we all experience some hearing damage during our lives. If or when you develop hearing loss is heavily dependent on how well you protect your ears when you’re subjected to loud sound.
So it might be an indication that the banana is changing if you encounter any of these signs. Fortunately, there’s something you can do about it: come in and get tested! The sooner your hearing loss is diagnosed, the sooner you’ll be able to receive treatment.