Bananas don’t taste like they once did. There are extremely different types of bananas being grown these days by banana farmers. These new bananas sprout faster, are more resilient, and can thrive in a wider range of climates. They don’t taste the same either. So why haven’t you noticed the great banana exchange? Well, the truth is that it developed slowly, through the years. You never noticed the gradual switch.
Hearing loss can occur in the same way. It isn’t like you get up one day and can’t hear a thing. For the majority of people, hearing loss advances slowly, often so slowly that you don’t really recognize what’s taking place.
That’s unfortunate because early treatment can help maintain your hearing. You can take measures to protect your hearing if you’re aware that it’s at risk. So it’s a good plan to keep an eye out for these seven signs of diminishing hearing.
You should have your hearing tested if you notice any of these 7 indicators
Hearing loss isn’t always well grasped as it develops gradually over time. It isn’t like you’ll be totally unable to hear the day after you went to that big rock show. 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. Untreated hearing loss has been connected to a greater risk of issues including dementia, social isolation, and depression, so it’s not something you should mess about with.
You should, uh, watch out for these seven signs that you might be experiencing hearing loss. A hearing exam is the only way to be sure, but perhaps these warning signs will motivate you to take some early action.
Sign #1: You keep cranking up the volume on your devices
Are you continually cranking up the volume on your devices? Sure, maybe it’s just that all of your favorite actors and artists have begun to mumble, or that the audio mixing on TV shows is dramatically different than it was before. But it’s also possible (if not probable) that you’re hearing is slowly degrading, and that you’re increasing the volume of your favorite TV show or music to compensate.
If others keep telling you the TV is too loud this is especially likely. They can often recognize hearing problems in you faster than you can.
Sign #2: You failed to hear your phone ringing (or the doorbell)
It could be a sign that you’re having hearing trouble if you are continuously missing everyday sounds. Some of the most common sounds you might miss include:
- Someone knocking on your door or ringing your doorbell: You thought your friend unexpectedly walked into your house but actually missed his knocks.
- 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? No one calls anymore, so you’re more likely to miss a text message than a call.
If your family and friends have pointed out that they’re a little scared 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 assessment.
Sign #3: You’re continuously needing people to repeat themselves
Is “What?” or “Pardon?” your most commonly used words? If you’re regularly 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 particularly relevant if people do repeat themselves and you still can’t hear what they’re saying. Looks like a hearing test is in order.
Sign #4: It sounds as if everyone’s always mumbling
You could also call this sign #3-A, because they go rather well together. You should recognize that people most likely aren’t mumbling or talking about you under their breath even if your hearing loss is making it feel like this. It’s stressful to always feel like people are mumbling about you, so it might be a comfort to find out they’re actually not. The truth is that you’re simply not hearing them because of your loss of hearing.
This can be particularly noticeable if you’re trying to listen to someone who has a higher pitched voice, or if you have to have a conversation in a loud space, like a restaurant.
Sign #5: Family members encourage you to get a hearing exam (or invest in hearing aids)
You most likely have a pretty close relationship with your friends and family. It’s likely that at least some of them have pretty healthy hearing. If your family members (particularly younger) are telling you that something is wrong with your hearing, it’s a smart plan to listen to them (no pun intended).
It’s understandable that you would want to rationalize away this proposal. Perhaps you feel like they just caught you on a bad day or something. But you could give your hearing an advantage by taking their advice.
Sign #6: You hear ringing in your ears (or experience vertigo)
Ringing in your ears is a condition called tinnitus. It’s extremely common. When you’re dealing with hearing loss, your tinnitus can become profound for a couple of reasons:
- Damage can cause both: Damage causes both tinnitus and hearing loss. So the more damaged your hearing system is, the more likely you are to develop both hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Tinnitus is more pronounced when you have hearing loss: 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 comparatively louder and considerably more noticeable.
In either case, if you’re going through 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 assessment.
Sign #7: You feel fatigued after social engagement
Perhaps you’ve always been an introvert at heart, and that’s why social situations have become completely exhausting. Or it may be possible that you’re not hearing as clearly as you once did.
When you leave a restaurant or a social affair feeling completely drained, your hearing (or lack thereof) may be the cause. When there are interruptions in what you hear, your brain works really hard to fill in those gaps. This additional effort by your brain can leave you feeling exhausted. So you may experience even more exhaustion when you’re in an especially noisy setting.
The first step is calling us for an appointment
The truth is that we all experience some hearing damage during our lives. Just how much (and how frequently 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 may be an indication that the banana is changing if you encounter any of these signs. Luckily, you can take matters into your own hands and call us for an appointment. You’ll be able to get treatment as soon as you get diagnosed.