Bananas don’t taste like they once did. There are rather different types of bananas being grown nowadays by banana farmers. These new bananas sprout faster, are more resilient, and can thrive in a wider range of climates. And they taste very different. So why haven’t you detected the great banana swap? Well, the change wasn’t a quick one. The change was so slow you never noticed.
Hearing loss can happen in a similar way. It’s not like suddenly your hearing is entirely gone. For most people, hearing loss progresses slowly, often so slowly that you don’t really recognize what’s taking place.
That’s regrettable because early intervention can help maintain your hearing. If you know that your hearing is at risk, for instance, you might take more safeguards to protect it. So it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for these seven signs of waning hearing.
7 indications you should get a hearing assessment
Hearing loss happens gradually and over time, but it’s not always well grasped. It’s not as if you’ll go to a noisy rock concert and the next day find yourself entirely unable to hear. Recurring exposure to loud sound over a long period of time gradually leads to recognizable hearing loss. So monitoring your hearing early will be the best way to protect it. Neglected hearing loss has been connected to a greater risk of issues such as dementia, social isolation, and depression, so it’s not something you should mess around with.
These seven signs are what you should be watching out for. A hearing exam is the only way to know, but maybe these warning signs will prompt you to take some early action.
Sign #1: You’re continually cranking the volume up
Are you continually turning up the volume on your devices? Sure, maybe it’s just that all of your favorite actors and artists have started mumbling, or that the audio mixing on TV shows is dramatically different than it was before. But it’s also possible (if not likely) that you’re hearing is gradually degrading, and that you’re raising the volume of your favorite TV show or music to compensate.
If others keep telling you the TV is too loud this is particularly likely. They can often recognize hearing problems in you faster than you can.
Sign #2: You missed the doorbell (or a phone call)
If you’re frequently missing some everyday sounds, that could be a sign of trouble with your ears. Some of the most common sounds you might miss include:
- Someone knocking on your door or ringing your doorbell: When your best friend unexpectedly walks into your house, take into account the possibility that they did actually knock, you just missed it.
- Alarms and timers: Did you burn dinner or sleep or sleep through your alarm clock? It might not be because your cook timer or alarm clock is not loud enough.
- Your phone: Are you failing to get text messages? Nobody calls anymore, so you’re more likely to miss a text message than a phone call.
You’re missing important sounds while driving, like honking horns or trucks beeping while backing up, and your friends and family are becoming scared to drive with you.
Sign #3: You keep needing people to repeat what they said
Are your most commonly used words “what?” or “pardon?”? It’s likely that it’s a problem with your hearing that’s causing you to need people to repeat what they said when they talk to you. This is particularly relevant if people do repeat themselves and you still don’t hear what they say. Seems like a hearing test is needed.
Sign #4: It sounds like everybody’s always mumbling
This one goes fairly well with #3 and we might even call it #3-A. If it sounds like everybody around you is continuously mumbling or saying something under their breath, the truth is… well, they likely aren’t. It’s stressful to always think people are mumbling about you, so it might be a relief to learn they’re actually not. The truth is that you’re just not hearing them due to your loss of hearing.
This can be especially noticeable if you’re attempting to listen to someone who has a higher pitched voice, or if you need to have a conversation in a noisy space, like a restaurant.
Sign #5: Family members encourage you to take a hearing assessment (or get hearing aids)
Your family and friends probably know you pretty well. It’s likely that at least some of them have pretty healthy hearing. It’s a smart idea to listen to your family members (particularly the younger ones) if they are telling you something’s up with your hearing.
We understand that it’s all too easy to sort of rationalize this recommendation away. Maybe you think they just caught you on a bad day or something. But heeding their advice could protect the health of your hearing.
Sign #6: You hear ringing in your ears (or experience vertigo)
Ringing in your ears is a condition called tinnitus. It’s extremely common. When you have hearing loss, your tinnitus can become severe for a couple of reasons:
- Both can be caused by damage: Both hearing loss and tinnitus can be caused by damage. So you’re more likely to develop tinnitus and hearing loss the more damaged your hearing is.
- Hearing loss can make tinnitus more obvious: In your normal day-to-day life, tinnitus can be overwhelmed by the everyday noises you experience. But as those everyday noises recede to the background (due to hearing loss), the tinnitus becomes comparatively louder and substantially more noticeable.
Either way, if you’re experiencing loud ringing, or even dizziness and vertigo, it could be an indication that something is going on in your ears. And that means (no shock here), yes, you should come see us for a hearing test.
Sign #7: Socializing leaves you feeling exhausted
Perhaps the reason why social situations have become so tiring is because you’ve always been an introvert. Or perhaps, and just hear us out here (again with the puns), your hearing isn’t what it used to be.
When you leave a restaurant or a social event feeling totally drained, your hearing (or lack thereof) might be the cause. When there are interruptions in what you hear, your brain tries really hard to fill in those gaps. This is fatiguing (no matter how good your brain is), particularly over the long run. So when you’re in particularly strenuous situations (such as a noisy space), you might experience even more fatigue.
The first step is getting in touch with us for an appointment
Honestly, hearing damage is normal to everybody to some level. If or when you develop hearing loss has a lot to do with how well you protect your ears when you’re subjected to loud noise.
So it might be an indication that the banana is changing if you experience any of these signs. Fortunately, there’s something you can do about it: come in and get tested! You’ll be able to get treatment as soon as you get diagnosed.