Audiology Associates of North Florida - Tallahassee, FL

Man with hearing loss trying to hear at the dinner table with his family.

The last time you had dinner with your family was a hard experience. It wasn’t because your family was having a tough time getting along. No, the source of the difficulty was simple: it was noisy, and you couldn’t hear a thing. So you weren’t able to have very much meaningful conversation with any of your family members. It was frustrating. You feel like the room’s acoustics played a big part. But you can’t totally dismiss the possibility that maybe your hearing is starting to go bad.

It isn’t generally 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 on your radar. When enough of these red flags surface, it’s worth making an appointment to get checked by a hearing specialist.

Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs

Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is noticeable. But you might be experiencing some amount of hearing loss if you find yourself recognizing some of these signs.

Some of the most common early signs of hearing impairment may include:

  • There’s a ringing in your ears: Ringing in your ears is called tinnitus (and, actually, tinnitus can be other sounds also: 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 most likely in order.
  • It’s suddenly very hard to understand phone calls: People do a lot of texting nowadays, so you may not take as many phone calls as you once did. But if you’re having problems understanding the phone calls you do get (even with the volume cranked all the way up), you may be confronting another red flag for your hearing.
  • Certain sounds seem so loud that they’re intolerable. It’s one of the more unusual early warning signs associated with hearing loss, but hyperacusis is common enough that you might find yourself experiencing its symptoms. It can be an early sign of hearing loss if certain sounds seem really loud particularly if it lasts for an extended period of time.
  • You have a tough time hearing conversations in a noisy or crowded place. This is precisely what happened during the “family dinner” illustration above, and it’s typically an early sign of hearing problems.
  • You find it’s tough to comprehend certain words. This warning sign frequently pops up because consonants are beginning to sound similar, or, at least, becoming harder to differentiate. The th- and sh- sounds are very commonly muffled. It can also commonly be the p- and t- sounds or the s- and f- sounds
  • Someone notices that the volume on your media devices is getting louder and louder. Perhaps the volume on your phone keeps getting louder and louder. Maybe it’s your TV that’s at max volume. Usually, you’re not the one that observes the loud volume, it’s your children, maybe your neighbor, or your friends.
  • You frequently need people to repeat what they said. If you find yourself repeatedly asking people to speak up, repeat themselves, or slow down when they speak, this is particularly true. You might not even recognize you’re making such regular requests, but it can definitely be an early sign of diminishing hearing.
  • You have trouble hearing high-pitched sounds. Things like a whistling teapot or ringing doorbell sometimes go undetected for several minutes or more. Specific frequencies (often high pitched) will usually be the first to fade with early hearing loss.
  • Next Up: Get a Exam

    Regardless of how many of these early warning signs you may experience, there’s really only one way to know, with certainty, whether your hearing is going bad: get your hearing tested.

    In general, even one of these early warning signs could be an indication that you’re developing some type of hearing impairment. A hearing examination will be able to tell what level of impairment, if any, exists. And then you’ll be better equipped to get the proper treatment.

    This will make your next family gathering a lot smoother and more enjoyable.

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    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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