Bananas don’t taste like they once did. There are rather different types of bananas being grown these days by banana farmers. These new bananas sprout faster, are more resilient, and can prosper in a wider range of climates. And they taste very different. So why haven’t you detected the great banana swap? Well, the truth is that it happened slowly, through the years. You never noticed the gradual switch.
The same thing can happen with your ears and hearing loss. It’s not like you wake up one day and can’t hear a thing. For most people, hearing loss progresses slowly, often so slowly that you don’t really realize what’s taking place.
That’s unfortunate because early treatment can help maintain your hearing. If you know that your hearing is in danger, for instance, you may take more precautions to protect it. So it’s a good plan 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 understood as it happens gradually over time. It’s not like you’ll go to a loud rock concert and the next day find yourself totally incapable of hearing. 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 protect it. You don’t want to put off on this because untreated hearing loss has been connected to problems like social separation, depression, and dementia.
These seven signs are what you should be watching out for. A hearing exam is the only way to know, but perhaps these warning signs will motivate you to take some early action.
Sign #1: You’re continually turning the volume up
Are you continually turning up the volume on your devices? Sure, possibly it’s just that all of your favorite actors and artists have begun to mumble, or that the audio mixing on TV shows is drastically different than it used to be. But it’s also possible (if not probable) 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 volume is too high this is particularly likely. They will frequently detect your hearing loss before you become aware of it.
Sign #2: You failed to hear the doorbell (or a phone call)
It could be a sign that you’re having hearing issues if you are continuously missing everyday sounds. Here are some common sounds you may be missing:
- Your doorbell (or a knock on the door): You thought your friend just walked into your house but you in fact missed his knocks.
- Timers and alarms: Did you burn dinner or sleep or sleep through your alarm clock? It might not be because your cook timer or alarm clock is too quiet.
- Your phone: Are you missing text messages? You’re more likely to miss text messages than calls since no one makes calls nowadays.
You’re missing essential sounds while driving, like honking horns or trucks beeping while backing up, and your family and friends are becoming afraid to drive with you.
Sign #3: You keep asking people to repeat what they said
Are your most commonly used words “what?” or “pardon?”? If you’re constantly asking people to repeat themselves, it’s very, very possible it isn’t because of them, it’s because of you (and your hearing). If people do repeat what they said and you still can’t hear them this is especially true. Probably, time to schedule a hearing test.
Sign #4: Is everyone starting to mumble?
This one goes fairly well with #3 and we may even call it #3-A. If it sounds like everybody around you is continuously mumbling or saying something under their breath, the reality is… well, they probably aren’t. That may be a relief (it’s no fun to be surrounded by people who you think are mumbling stuff about you). Alternatively, it’s more likely that you’re simply having a hard time hearing what they’re saying.
If you’re attempting to talk to someone in a noisy setting or with someone who has a high pitched voice this can be especially relevant.
Sign #5: Family members prompt you to take a hearing exam (or invest in hearing aids)
Your friends and family probably know you quite well. It’s likely that at least some of them have fairly healthy hearing. It’s a good idea to listen to your family members (especially 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 advice away. Maybe you feel like they just caught you on a bad day or something. But heeding their advice could preserve the health of your hearing.
Sign #6: You hear ringing in your ears (or experience vertigo)
Ringing in your ears is a condition known as tinnitus. It isn’t at all unusual. There are a couple of reasons why you might experience more ringing in your ears when you’re dealing with hearing loss:
- Damage can trigger both: Damage triggers both tinnitus and hearing loss. So the more damaged your hearing system is, the more likely you are to suffer from both hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Hearing loss can make tinnitus more noticeable: In your typical day-to-day life, tinnitus can be overwhelmed by the everyday noises you experience. But as those everyday noises fade to the background (as a result of hearing loss), the tinnitus becomes relatively louder and significantly more noticeable.
It could be a sign that you’re dealing with issues with your ears, either way, if you have loud noises in your ears or balance problems and vertigo. And that means (no surprise here), yes, you need to come see us for a hearing test.
Sign #7: Socializing leaves you feeling exhausted
Perhaps the reason why social interactions have become so tiring is because you’ve always been an introvert. Or maybe, and just hear us out here (again with the puns), your hearing isn’t what it used to be.
Your hearing may be the cause when you feel wiped out after leaving a restaurant or social event. When there are gaps in what you hear, your brain works overtime to fill in those holes. This additional effort by your brain can leave you feeling depleted. So when you’re in particularly strenuous situations (like a noisy space), you might experience even more fatigue.
Start by coming to see us
The truth is that we all encounter some hearing damage during our lives. Just how much (and how often you were wearing hearing protection) might have a big impact 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. Fortunately, there’s something you can do about it: come in and get evaluated! The sooner your hearing loss is identified, the sooner you’ll be able to receive treatment.