Bananas don’t taste the same as they once did. There are very different varieties of bananas being grown nowadays by banana farmers. Today’s banana can develop successfully in a large number of climates, are more resilient, and can grow faster. 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 isn’t like you wake up one day and can’t hear anything. In most circumstances of hearing loss, it goes unnoticed because it progresses so slowly.
That’s unfortunate because early intervention can help maintain your hearing. You can take steps to safeguard your hearing if you recognize that it’s at risk. That’s why it might be important to watch for these seven indications your hearing could be waning.
7 indications you should get a hearing assessment
Hearing loss occurs gradually and over time, but it’s not always well grasped. It isn’t 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 issues including dementia, social isolation, and depression, so it’s not something you want to mess about with.
You should, uh, watch out for these seven indications that you may be developing hearing loss. The only way to know for certain is to get a hearing test, but these signs may encourage you to make an appointment earlier than you normally would have.
Sign #1: You keep turning up the volume on your devices
Do you find yourself frequently reaching for the volume controls? Sure, possibly it’s just that all of your favorite actors and artists have started mumbling, or that the sound mixing on TV shows is dramatically different than it was before. But it’s also possible (if not likely) that you’re hearing is slowly going, and that you’re increasing the volume of your favorite TV show or music to compensate.
This is especially the case if your family has also constantly been telling you that the TV is too loud. They can usually recognize hearing issues in you sooner than you can.
Sign #2: You didn’t hear the phone ringing (or the doorbell)
It could be an indication that you’re having hearing issues if you are continuously missing everyday sounds. Here are some common sounds you might be missing:
- Somebody knocking on your door or ringing the doorbell: 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 burned? 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? You’re more likely to miss text messages than phone calls since nobody makes calls nowadays.
If your loved ones have stated that they’re a little scared 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’re always needing people to repeat what they said
Are your most frequently 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’re talking with you. If people do repeat themselves and you still fail to hear them this is especially relevant. Most likely, time to schedule a hearing exam.
Sign #4: Is everybody starting to mumble?
This one goes fairly well with #3 and we may even call it #3-A. You should realize that people probably aren’t mumbling or talking about you under their breath even if your hearing loss is making it seem that way. That may be a comfort (it’s no fun to be surrounded by people who you think are mumbling things about you). Alternatively, it’s more likely that you’re simply having a difficult time hearing what they’re saying.
If you’re trying to talk to someone in a noisy setting or with someone who has a high pitched voice this can be particularly relevant.
Sign #5: Family members prompt you to take a hearing assessment (or get hearing aids)
Your friends and family probably know you quite well. It’s likely that at least some of them have pretty healthy hearing. It’s a good idea 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. Maybe you think 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)
When you’re experiencing ringing in your ears, you’re dealing with a condition known as tinnitus. It’s incredibly common. When you’re dealing with hearing loss, your tinnitus can become profound for a couple of reasons:
- Both can be caused by damage: Both hearing loss and tinnitus can be the result of damage. So the more damaged your hearing system is, the more likely you are to develop both hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Hearing loss can make tinnitus more obvious: Tinnitus can be drowned-out by everyday noises in your daily life. But as those everyday noises fade to the background (due to hearing loss), the tinnitus becomes relatively louder and considerably more noticeable.
Either way, if you’re noticing loud ringing, or even dizziness and vertigo, it could be an indication that something is happening in your ears. This means it’s time to come see us for a hearing test.
Sign #7: You feel fatigued after social engagement
Perhaps you’ve always been an introvert at heart, and that’s why social settings have become totally draining. Or maybe, and just hear us out here (again with the puns), your hearing isn’t what it once was.
When you leave a restaurant or a social affair feeling completely drained, your hearing (or lack thereof) may be the reason why. Your brain is trying to fill in the gaps that you can’t hear. This is exhausting (no matter how good your brain is), especially over the long run. So when you’re in especially strenuous situations (such as a noisy space), you might experience even more fatigue.
Begin by coming to see us
The truth is that we all encounter some hearing damage in our lifetimes. Just how much (and how often you were wearing hearing protection) might have a huge impact on when you develop hearing loss, or if you develop hearing loss in the first place.
So if you’ve experienced any of these signs, it’s a sign that the banana is changing. Thankfully, there’s something you can do about it: come in and get tested! The sooner your hearing loss is diagnosed, the sooner you’ll be able to receive treatment.