HEARING TIPS

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Your last family dinner was discouraging. It wasn’t because your family was having a hard time getting along. The issue was the noise, which was making it difficult to hear anything. So you didn’t hear the details about Nancy’s promotion, and you didn’t have an opportunity to ask about Todd’s new puppy. The whole experience was incredibly aggravating. You feel like the room’s acoustics played a big part. But you’re also willing to accept that your hearing might be starting to go.

It’s not typically advisable to try to self diagnose hearing loss because it generally isn’t possible. But there are a few early warning signs you should keep your eye on. When enough of these red flags emerge, it’s worth making an appointment to get examined by a hearing specialist.

Early Signs of Hearing Loss

Several of the indications of hearing loss are subtle. But if you happen to find your own experiences reflected in any of the items on the following list, you just might be experiencing some degree of hearing loss.

Here are some of the warning signs of hearing loss:

  • There’s a ringing in your ears: Ringing in your ears is known as tinnitus (and, technically, tinnitus can be other sounds too: thumping, buzzing, screeching, humming, and so on). Tinnitus isn’t necessarily linked to hearing issues, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is probably in order.
  • You find that some sounds become intolerably loud. This early warning sign is less common, but hyperacusis is common enough that you may find yourself experiencing 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. In the “family dinner” example above, this specific thing occurred and it’s certainly an early warning sign.
  • Someone makes you aware that you keep turning the volume up. Maybe the volume on your phone keeps getting louder and louder. Maybe 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 escalating volumes.
  • Phone calls suddenly seem muffled and difficult to understand: Nowadays, because of texting, we use the phone a lot less than we used to. But if you have the volume cranked all the way up on your phone and you’re still having trouble hearing calls, it’s probably an early warning of hearing loss.
  • Some words seem harder to hear than others. This warning sign frequently pops up because consonants are starting to sound similar, or, at least, becoming difficult to differentiate. Normally, 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 continually asking people to talk louder, repeat what they said, or slow down when they speak, this is particularly true. Sometimes, you may not even notice how frequently this is happening and you may miss this red flag.
  • High pitched sounds are hard to hear. Maybe you find your teapot has been whistling for a while without your knowledge. Or perhaps the doorbell rings, and you never notice it. Distinct frequencies (often high pitched) will typically be the first to go with early hearing loss.
  • It’s Time to Get a Hearing Exam

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

    Broadly speaking, any single one of these early warning signs could be evidence that you’re developing some kind of hearing loss. What level of hearing loss you may be dealing with can only be determined with a hearing evaluation. Then it will become more obvious what has to be done about it.

    This means your next family gathering can be a lot more enjoyable.

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