How Can I Tell if I’m Suffering From Hearing Loss?

Woman sitting on a grey couch gazing out the window wondering if she has hearing loss.

Your last family get-together was disheartening. Not because of any intra-family drama (though there’s always some of that). No, the cause of the stress 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 Todd’s new puppy. And that was really annoying. For the most part, you blame the acoustics. But you can’t totally dismiss the possibility that perhaps your hearing is beginning to fail.

It’s not usually recommended to self diagnose hearing loss because it’s extremely difficult to do. But there are some early red flags you should keep on your radar. When enough of these warning signs pop up, it’s worth scheduling an appointment to get a hearing assessment.

Hearing loss’s early signs

Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is evident. But you may be experiencing hearing loss if you can connect with any of the items on this list.

Some of the most common initial signs of hearing loss could include:

  • You have a difficult time following conversations in a busy or noisy location. This is precisely what occurred during the “family dinner” example above, and it’s frequently an early indication of trouble with hearing.
  • You find that some sounds become unbearably loud. You may or may not encounter this but if you do, remember that it can be an early warning of hearing loss. If you are experiencing this problem, particularly if it lingers, it’s time for a hearing test.
  • You hear ringing in your ears: Ringing in your ears is known as tinnitus (and, technically, tinnitus can be other noises too: screeching, buzzing, humming, thumping, and so on). Tinnitus isn’t always related to hearing problems, but it is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is probably in order.
  • You keep asking people to repeat themselves. This is particularly true if you’re asking numerous people to speak slower, say something again, or speak louder. This early sign of hearing loss may be happening without you even noticing.
  • You notice it’s difficult to make out particular words. This symptom happens when consonants become hard to hear and differentiate. Usually, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are garbled. But another common example is when the “s” and “f” sounds become confused.
  • You have trouble hearing high-pitched sounds. Maybe you find your tea kettle has been screeching for five minutes without your knowledge. Or perhaps, you never even notice the doorbell ringing. Hearing loss generally impacts particular frequencies usually higher pitched frequencies.
  • It’s suddenly very hard to make out phone calls: Texting is popular nowadays, so you may not talk on the phone as much as you used to. But if you’re having trouble understanding the phone calls you do receive (even with the volume turned all the way up), you may be confronting another red flag for your hearing.
  • Someone observes that the volume on your media devices gets louder and louder. Maybe the volume on your mobile phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or perhaps, you have your TV volume turned up to max. Usually, you’re not the one that notices the loud volume, it’s your kids, possibly your neighbor, or your friends.

Next up: Take a test

You might have one or more of these early warnings but the only real way to determine the health of your hearing is to get a hearing exam.

Generally speaking, any single one of these early red flags could be evidence that you’re developing some type of hearing loss. A hearing assessment will be able to reveal what level of impairment, if any, exists. And then you’ll be better prepared to determine the right treatment.

This will help you have a much more enjoyable time at that next family get-together.

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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