Bananas don’t taste like they once did. There are extremely different varieties of bananas being cultivated these days by banana farmers. These new bananas sprout faster, are more robust, and can thrive in a wider range of climates. And they taste very different. So why haven’t you detected the great banana exchange? Well, the change wasn’t a quick one. You never noticed the gradual change.
Hearing loss can occur in the same way. It isn’t like suddenly your hearing is totally gone. For the majority of people, hearing loss advances slowly, often so slowly that you don’t really realize what’s happening.
Early treatment can really help maintain your hearing so that’s an unfortunate truth. You can take measures to protect your hearing if you’re aware that it’s at risk. So it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for these seven signs of diminishing hearing.
7 signs you should get a hearing assessment
Hearing loss isn’t always well grasped as it happens slowly over time. It isn’t like you’ll be completely unable to hear the day after you went to that big rock show. Damage to your hearing (from that rock concert and other loud noises) builds up over time. So keeping an eye on your hearing early will be the best way to safeguard it. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to a greater risk of problems such as dementia, social isolation, and depression, so it isn’t something you want to mess about with.
These seven indicators are what you should be watching out for. A hearing exam is the only way to be sure, but perhaps these warning signs will motivate you to take some early action.
Sign #1: You’re constantly cranking the volume up
Are you continually cranking up the volume on your devices? Perhaps they’re mixing the audio on your favorite shows differently now, or your favorite artists have begun to mumble. But it’s also possible (if not probable) that you’re hearing is slowly 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 high this is especially likely. They will frequently observe your hearing loss before you become aware of it.
Sign #2: You failed to hear the doorbell (or a phone call)
If you’re regularly missing some everyday sounds, that may be a sign of trouble with your ears. Here are some common sounds you may be missing:
- Your doorbell (or someone knocking on the door): You thought your friend unexpectedly walked into your house but actually missed his knocks.
- Timers and alarms: Did you sleep through your alarm clock ringing? Did the dinner get overcooked? It may not be because your cook timer or alarm clock is too quiet.
- Your phone: Text messages coming to you but you missed them? No one calls anymore, so you’re more likely to miss a text message than a phone call.
If your loved ones have mentioned that they’re a little afraid of driving with you because you miss so many common sounds (from honking horns to the beeping of a truck backing up), that could be a sign that it’s time for a hearing exam.
Sign #3: You keep asking people to repeat what they said
Is “What?” or “Pardon?” your most commonly used words? It’s likely that it’s an issue with your hearing that’s causing you to need people to repeat what they said when they’re talking with you. If people do repeat what they said and you still don’t hear them this is particularly relevant. Looks like a hearing test is needed.
Sign #4: It sounds as if everyone’s always mumbling
You could also call this sign #3-A, since they go pretty well together. You should recognize that people most likely aren’t mumbling or talking about you under their breath even if your hearing loss is making it seem that way. It’s stressful to always think people are mumbling about you, so it may be a comfort to learn they’re actually not. The reality is that you’re simply not hearing them because of your hearing loss.
If you’re attempting to talk to somebody in a noisy setting or with someone who has a high pitched voice this can be particularly true.
Sign #5: Loved ones keep suggesting you have your hearing checked
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 listen 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 advice. Possibly you tell yourself it was just a bad day or whatever. But you could give your hearing an advantage by taking their advice.
Sign #6: Your ears are ringing or you’re experiencing balance problems
When you have ringing in your ears, you’re dealing with a condition called tinnitus. It’s very common. There are a couple of reasons why you might experience more ringing in your ears when you’re dealing with hearing loss:
- Damage can cause both: Both hearing loss and tinnitus can be caused by damage. So you’re more likely to experience tinnitus and hearing loss the more damaged your hearing is.
- Hearing loss can make tinnitus more noticeable: In your ordinary day-to-day life, tinnitus can be overpowered by the everyday noises you experience. But as those everyday noises recede to the background (as a result of hearing loss), the tinnitus becomes comparatively louder and considerably more noticeable.
It could be an indication that you’re experiencing problems with your ears, either way, if you have loud noises in your ears or balance issues and vertigo. And that means (no surprise here), yes, you need to come see us for a hearing test.
Sign #7: You feel exhausted after social interactions
Maybe you’ve always been an introvert at heart, and that’s why social interactions have grown completely draining. Or it may be possible that you’re not hearing as clearly as you used to.
When you leave a restaurant or a social event feeling totally drained, your hearing (or lack thereof) may be the cause. When there are interruptions in what you hear, your brain tries overtime to fill in those gaps. This additional effort by your brain can leave you feeling depleted. So you may experience even more exhaustion when you’re in a particularly noisy setting.
Start by coming to see us
Honestly, hearing damage is normal to everybody to some level. Just how much (and how frequently you were using hearing protection) may have a huge affect on when you develop hearing loss, or if you develop hearing loss in the first place.
So it might be an indication that the banana is changing if you encounter any of these signs. Happily, you can take matters into your own hands and call us for an appointment. The sooner your hearing loss is identified, the sooner you’ll be able to get treatment.