Bananas don’t taste the same as they once did. That’s because today’s banana farmers grow a very different type of banana then they used to. These new bananas grow faster, are more robust, and can thrive in a wider variety of climates. And they taste very different. So why haven’t you detected the great banana swap? Well, the reality is that it happened slowly, through the years. You never noticed the gradual switch.
Hearing loss can occur in a similar way. It isn’t like all of a sudden your hearing is entirely gone. In most cases of hearing loss, it goes undetected because it progresses so slowly.
Early treatment can really help preserve your hearing so that’s a regrettable truth. If you know that your hearing is at risk, for example, you might take more precautions to protect it. So it’s a good plan to be on the lookout for these seven signs of waning hearing.
You should get your hearing tested if you experience any of these 7 signs
Hearing loss isn’t always well grasped as it develops slowly over time. It’s not like you’ll be completely unable to hear the day after you went to that big rock concert. Damage to your hearing (from that rock concert and other loud noises) increases over time. The earlier you deal with your hearing loss, the better off you’ll be. Neglected hearing loss has been linked to an increased risk of issues like dementia, social isolation, and depression, so it’s not 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 know, but maybe these warning signs will prompt you to take some early action.
Sign #1: You’re continuously turning up the volume
Are you continually cranking 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 sound mixing on TV shows is drastically different than it was before. But it’s also possible (if not likely) that you’re hearing is slowly going, and that you’re raising the volume of your favorite TV show or music to compensate.
This is especially the case if your family has also regularly been telling you that the TV is too loud. They can often notice hearing trouble in you faster than you can.
Sign #2: You failed to hear the doorbell (or a phone call)
If you’re regularly missing some day to day sounds, that may be an indication of trouble with your ears. A few of the most common noises you might miss include:
- Someone knocking on your door or ringing the doorbell: When your good friend abruptly walks into your house, consider the possibility that they did in fact knock, you just missed it.
- Timers and alarms: Did you burn dinner or sleep or sleep through the ringing of your alarm clock? It might not be your alarm’s fault.
- Your phone: Are you missing text messages? You’re more likely to miss text messages than phone calls since no one makes calls nowadays.
If your family and friends have stated that they’re kind of scared of driving with you because you miss so many common sounds (from honking horns to the beeping of a truck in reverse), 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 a problem with your hearing that’s causing you to need people to repeat what they said when they’re talking with you. This is particularly true if people do repeat what they said and you still can’t hear what they’re saying. Seems like a hearing test is needed.
Sign #4: It sounds like everybody’s always mumbling
You could also call this sign #3-A, because they go pretty well together. If it sounds like everyone around you is continuously mumbling or saying something under their breath, the truth is… well, they probably aren’t. That may be a relief (it’s no fun to be surrounded by individuals who you think are mumbling stuff about you). The truth is that you’re just not hearing them due to your loss of hearing.
This can be especially noticeable if you’re attempting to listen to someone who has a higher pitched voice, or if you need to have a conversation in a noisy space, such as a restaurant.
Sign #5: Loved ones keep suggesting you get your hearing checked
Your family and friends most likely know you pretty well. And some of them most likely have healthy hearing. If your members of your family (especially younger) are informing you that something isn’t right with your hearing, it’s a smart plan to listen to them (no pun intended).
It’s easy to understand that you would want to rationalize away this advice. Perhaps you think they just caught you on a bad day or something. But heeding their advice could maintain 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 called tinnitus. It’s not at all uncommon. There are a couple of reasons why you may experience more ringing in your ears when you’re dealing with hearing loss:
- Both can be caused by damage: Damage causes both tinnitus and hearing loss. So you’re more likely to experience tinnitus and hearing loss the more damaged your hearing is.
- Hearing loss can make tinnitus more pronounced: In your normal day-to-day life, tinnitus can be overwhelmed by the everyday noises you encounter. But as hearing loss makes those background sounds quieter, tinnitus symptoms come to the front.
In either case, if you’re experiencing loud ringing, or even dizziness and vertigo, it could be a sign that something is happening in your ears. This means it’s time to come see us for a hearing assessment.
Sign #7: You feel tired after social interactions
Perhaps you’ve always been an introvert at heart, and that’s why social situations have become totally exhausting. Or perhaps, and just hear us out here (again with the puns), your hearing isn’t what it once was.
Your hearing might be the reason why you feel wiped out after leaving a restaurant or social affair. When there are gaps in what you hear, your brain works overtime to fill in those gaps. This is fatiguing (no matter how good your brain is), particularly over the long run. So when you’re in especially strenuous situations (such as a noisy space), you may experience even more fatigue.
The first step is calling us for an appointment
Honestly, hearing damage is common to everybody to some level. Just how much (and how often you were wearing hearing protection) may have a huge affect on when you develop hearing loss, or if you develop hearing loss at all.
So it might be an indication that the banana is changing if you encounter any of these signs. Thankfully, there’s something you can do about it: come in and get tested! You’ll be able to get treatment as soon as you are diagnosed.