Bananas don’t taste like they once did. That’s because modern banana farmers grow a very different type of banana then they used to. Today’s banana can develop easily in a large number of climates, are more robust, and can sprout faster. And they taste very different. So why haven’t you noticed the great banana exchange? Well, the change wasn’t a quick one. You never noticed the gradual switch.
Hearing loss can happen in a similar way. It isn’t like all of a sudden your hearing is completely gone. For most individuals, hearing loss develops slowly, often so slowly that you don’t really recognize what’s happening.
Early treatment can really help preserve your hearing so that’s an unfortunate truth. If you know that your hearing is at risk, for instance, 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.
You should get your hearing tested if you notice any of these 7 indicators
Hearing loss happens gradually and over time, but it isn’t always well grasped. It’s not 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) increases over time. The earlier you treat your hearing loss, the better off you’ll be. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to a greater risk of problems like dementia, social solitude, and depression, so it isn’t something you want to mess about with.
These seven indicators are what you should be paying attention to out for. A hearing exam is the only way to be sure, but maybe these warning signs will prompt you to take some early action.
Sign #1: You’re constantly turning the volume up
Do you find yourself frequently reaching for the volume controls? Sure, possibly 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 used to be. But it’s more likely that you’re compensating for your increasing hearing loss by turning the volume up on your devices.
This is particularly the situation if your family has also constantly been telling you that the TV is too loud. They will often notice your hearing loss before you become aware of it.
Sign #2: You failed to hear the doorbell (or a phone call)
It could be a sign that you’re having hearing problems if you are continuously missing day to day sounds. Some of the most common sounds you may miss include:
- Your doorbell (or someone knocking on the door): You thought your friend unexpectedly walked into your house but actually missed him knocking.
- 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 too quiet.
- Your phone: Text messages coming to you but you’re missing them? You’re more likely to miss text messages than calls since nobody makes calls nowadays.
You’re missing important sounds while driving, like honking horns or trucks beeping while backing up, and your family and friends are becoming scared to drive with you.
Sign #3: You keep asking people to repeat what they said
Are your most commonly used words “what?” or “pardon?”? It’s likely that it’s an issue with your hearing that’s causing you to need people to repeat what they said when they’re talking with you. This is especially relevant if people do repeat themselves and you still don’t hear what they’re saying. Looks like a hearing test is in order.
Sign #4: It sounds like everybody’s always mumbling
You could also call this sign #3-A, because they go rather well together. If it sounds as if everyone around you is continuously mumbling or saying something under their breath, the truth is… well, they likely aren’t. It’s stressful to always feel like people are mumbling about you, so it might be a comfort to learn they’re actually not. The truth is that you’re just not hearing them because of your hearing loss.
This can be particularly noticeable if you’re trying to listen to someone who has a higher pitched voice, or if you need to have a conversation in a loud space, such as a restaurant.
Sign #5: Family members encourage you to take a hearing test (or invest in hearing aids)
Your family and friends probably know you quite well. It’s likely that at least some of them have fairly healthy hearing. If your members of your family (especially younger) are telling you that something is wrong with your hearing, it’s a smart idea to listen to them (no pun intended).
It’s understandable that you would want to rationalize away this advice. 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 isn’t at all uncommon. When you have hearing loss, your tinnitus can become profound for a couple of reasons:
- Damage can trigger both: 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 suffer from both hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Tinnitus is more noticeable when you have hearing loss: Tinnitus can be drowned-out by everyday noises in your daily life. But as hearing loss makes those background sounds quieter, tinnitus symptoms come to the front.
Either way, if you’re going through loud ringing, or even dizziness and vertigo, it could be a sign that something is happening in your ears. And that means (no surprise here), yes, you should come see us for an exam.
Sign #7: Socializing leaves you feeling fatigued
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 may be the cause when you feel wiped out after leaving a restaurant or social event. When there are gaps in what you hear, your brain works really hard to fill in those gaps. This is exhausting (no matter how good your brain is), especially over the long run. So when you’re in particularly strenuous situations (such as a noisy space), you might experience even more fatigue.
Begin by coming to see us
Honestly, hearing damage is common to everybody to some degree. Just how much (and how often you were using hearing protection) may have a big 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. Fortunately, there’s something you can do about it: come in and get evaluated! The sooner your hearing loss is diagnosed, the sooner you’ll be able to get treatment.