If I Was Dealing With Hearing Loss, How Could I Tell?

Woman sitting on a grey couch gazing out the window wondering if she has hearing loss.

The last time you had dinner with family, you were quite frustrated. Not because of any intra-family episode (though there’s always a little bit of that). No, the problem was that you couldn’t hear anything over the loud noise of the room. So you didn’t get the chance to ask about Dave’s new cat or Sally’s new job. It was difficult. You try to play it off as if the room’s acoustics are the problem. But you can’t completely discount the idea that perhaps your hearing is beginning to fail.

It can be especially difficult to self-diagnose hearing loss (that’s why, typically, it’s not recommended). But there are some early red flags you should keep on your radar. When enough red flags appear, it’s time to contact us for a hearing test.

Hearing loss’s early signs

The majority of the symptoms of hearing loss are subtle. But you could be dealing with hearing loss if you can connect with any of the items on this list.

Some of the most common early signs of hearing impairment could include:

  • A friend points out that your media devices are getting increasingly louder. Maybe the volume on your mobile phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or maybe, your TV speakers are maxed out. Usually, you’re not the one that notices the loud volume, it’s your children, possibly your neighbor, or your friends.
  • It’s suddenly very challenging to make out phone calls: People do a lot of texting these days, so you may not talk on the phone as much as you used to. But you might be experiencing another early warning sign if you’re having difficulty understanding the calls you do take.
  • You hear ringing in your ears: Ringing in your ears is known as tinnitus (and, technically, tinnitus can be other sounds too: screeching, buzzing, humming, thumping, and so on). Tinnitus isn’t always linked to hearing issues, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing assessment is probably in order.
  • You have a difficult time following conversations in a busy or noisy setting. This is exactly what occurred during the “family dinner” example above, and it’s frequently an early indication of trouble with hearing.
  • You find that some sounds become unbearably loud. You may or may not experience this but if you do, be aware that it can be an early warning of hearing loss. If you are experiencing this issue, particularly if it persists, it’s time for a hearing exam.
  • You keep requesting that people repeat themselves. If you find yourself asking multiple people to speak more slowly, speak louder, or repeat what they said, this is especially true. You might not even know you’re making such frequent requests, but it can certainly be an early sign of hearing impairment.
  • High-pitched sounds are hard to hear. Perhaps you find your tea kettle has been screeching for five minutes but you didn’t notice it. Or perhaps the doorbell rings, and you never notice it. Hearing loss usually impacts specific frequencies normally higher pitched frequencies.
  • Certain words are hard to understand. This symptom takes place when consonants become hard to hear and differentiate. Usually, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are garbled. In some cases, it’s the s- and f-sounds or p- and t-sounds that get lost.

Get a hearing exam

No matter how many of these early warning signs you might experience, there’s really only one way to know, with certainty, whether your hearing is diminishing: get a hearing test.

Generally speaking, any single one of these early warning signs could indicate that you’re developing some type of hearing loss. A hearing assessment will be able to tell what degree of impairment, if any, exists. Once we discover the degree of hearing loss, we can determine the best course of treatment.

This will help you have a much more enjoyable time at that next family get-together.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.