Bananas don’t taste the same as they once did. That’s because today’s banana farmers grow a really different variety of banana then they did in the past. These new bananas grow faster, are more resilient, and can prosper in a wider range of climates. And they taste very different. So why haven’t you noticed the great banana exchange? Well, the change wasn’t a quick one. The change was so gradual you never noticed.
Hearing loss can happen in a similar way. It isn’t like you wake up one day and can’t hear a thing. In most cases of hearing loss, it goes unobserved because it develops so slowly.
That’s regrettable because early treatment can help maintain your hearing. If you know that your hearing is at risk, for example, you might take more safeguards to protect it. So it’s a good plan to keep an eye out for these seven signs of diminishing hearing.
7 indications you should get a hearing assessment
Hearing loss develops gradually and over time, but it’s not always well understood. It’s not as if you’ll be completely incapable of hearing the day after you went to that big rock concert. Damage to your hearing (from that rock concert and other loud noises) builds up over time. The earlier you manage your hearing loss, the better off you’ll be. Neglected hearing loss has been linked to an increased danger of problems including dementia, social isolation, and depression, so it isn’t something you want to mess about with.
You should, uh, watch out for these seven signs that you may be developing hearing loss. A hearing test is the only way to know, but maybe these warning signs will prompt you to take some early action.
Sign #1: You keep turning up the volume on your devices
Do you find yourself constantly reaching for the volume controls? Perhaps they’re mixing the sound on your favorite shows differently now, or your favorite actors have started to mumble. But it’s more likely that you’re compensating for your increasing hearing loss by cranking the volume up on your devices.
This is especially the case if your family has also constantly been telling you that the TV is too loud. They can often recognize hearing issues in you faster than you can.
Sign #2: You failed to hear the phone ringing (or the doorbell)
If you’re continually missing some everyday sounds, that could be an indication of issues with your ears. Here are a few common sounds you may be missing:
- Somebody knocking on your door or ringing the doorbell: When your best friend unexpectedly walks into your house, take into account the possibility that they did in fact knock, you just missed it.
- Timers and alarms: Did you sleep through your alarm clock ringing? Did the dinner get overcooked? It might not be because your cook timer or alarm clock is not loud enough.
- Your phone: Text messages coming to you but you’re missing them? No one calls nowadays, so you’re more likely to miss a text message than a call.
If your loved ones have stated that they’re kind of afraid of driving with you because you miss so many day to day sounds (from honking horns to the beeping of a truck in reverse), that could be an indication that it’s time for a hearing exam.
Sign #3: You’re continuously asking people to repeat themselves
Are your most commonly used words “what?” or “pardon?”? If you’re constantly needing people to repeat themselves, it’s very, very possible it isn’t because of them, it’s because of you (and your hearing). This is especially true if people do repeat themselves and you still don’t hear what they say. Seems like a hearing test is in order.
Sign #4: Is everyone starting to mumble?
This one goes fairly well with #3 and we might even call it #3-A. If it sounds as if everybody around you is constantly mumbling or saying something under their breath, the reality is… well, they likely aren’t. That might be a comfort (it’s no fun to be surrounded by individuals who you think are mumbling things about you). The truth is that you’re just not hearing them because of your hearing loss.
If you’re trying to talk to somebody 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 test (or get hearing aids)
You probably have a rather close relationship with your family and friends. It’s likely that at least some of them have fairly healthy hearing. If your members of your family (especially younger) are informing you that something isn’t right with your hearing, it’s a good idea to listen to them (no pun intended).
It’s easy to understand that you would want to rationalize away this proposal. 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: You hear ringing in your ears (or experience vertigo)
When you have ringing in your ears, you’re dealing with a condition called tinnitus. It’s extremely common. There are a couple of reasons why you may experience more ringing in your ears when you have hearing loss:
- Both can be triggered by damage: Both hearing loss and tinnitus can be brought on by damage. So the more damaged your hearing system is, the more likely you are to experience both hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Hearing loss can make tinnitus more pronounced: Tinnitus can be drowned-out by everyday noises in your day-to-day life. But as those everyday noises recede to the background (due to hearing loss), the tinnitus becomes comparatively louder and considerably more noticeable.
In either case, if you’re noticing 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 need to come see us for an exam.
Sign #7: Socializing leaves you feeling depleted
Maybe you’ve always been an introvert at heart, and that’s why social settings have become totally exhausting. Or maybe, and just hear us out here (again with the puns), your hearing isn’t what it used to be.
Your hearing might be the reason why you feel wiped out after leaving a restaurant or social affair. Your brain is trying to fill in the holes that you can’t hear. This is fatiguing (no matter how good your brain is), particularly over the long run. So when you’re in particularly strenuous situations (like a noisy space), you might experience even more exhaustion.
Begin by coming to see us
Honestly, hearing damage is normal to everybody to some degree. 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 may be an indication that the banana is changing if you experience any of these signs. Thankfully, 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 get treatment.