Bananas taste a lot different then they used to. There are very different varieties of bananas being grown nowadays by banana farmers. These new bananas grow faster, are more resilient, and can prosper in a wider variety of climates. And they taste very different. So why haven’t you noticed the great banana exchange? Well, the change wasn’t a fast one. You never noticed the gradual switch.
The same thing can take place with your ears and hearing loss. It’s not like you wake up one day and can’t hear a thing. For most individuals, hearing loss advances gradually, often so slowly that you don’t really recognize what’s taking place.
That’s regrettable because early intervention can help maintain your hearing. If you are aware that your hearing is in danger, for example, you might take more precautions to protect it. So it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for these seven signs of diminishing hearing.
7 signs you should get a hearing assessment
Hearing loss occurs slowly and over time, but it isn’t always well grasped. It isn’t as if you’ll go to a loud rock concert and the next day find yourself entirely unable to hear. Recurring exposure to loud noise over a long period of time slowly results in noticeable hearing loss. The earlier you treat your hearing loss, the better off you’ll be. You shouldn’t put off on this because neglected hearing loss has been linked to issues like social separation, depression, and dementia.
You should, uh, keep your ear to the ground for these seven indications that you may be developing hearing loss. A hearing test 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
Do you find yourself continuously 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 drastically different than it used to be. But it’s also possible (if not likely) that you’re hearing is slowly degrading, 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 constantly been telling you that the TV is too loud. They will often observe your hearing loss before you become aware of it.
Sign #2: You didn’t hear your phone ringing (or the doorbell)
It could be an indication that you’re having hearing trouble if you are constantly missing everyday sounds. Some of the most ordinary sounds you may miss include:
- Somebody knocking on your door or ringing your doorbell: When your good friend abruptly walks into your house, take into account the possibility that they did actually knock, you simply missed it.
- Timers and alarms: Did you sleep through your alarm clock? Did the dinner get overcooked? It might not be because your cook timer or alarm clock is too quiet.
- Your phone: Text messages coming to you but you missed them? You’re more likely to miss text messages than calls since nobody makes calls these days.
If your loved ones have pointed out that they’re a little scared of driving with you because you’re missing so many everyday 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 keep needing people to repeat what they said
Are your most frequently 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 talk to you. This is particularly relevant if people do repeat themselves and you still don’t hear what they’re saying. Probably, 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 recognize that people probably aren’t mumbling or talking about you under their breath even if your hearing loss is making it feel that way. That might be a comfort (it’s no fun to be surrounded by people who you think are mumbling things about you). Instead, it’s more likely that you’re just 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 especially true.
Sign #5: Loved ones keep recommending you get your hearing checked
You probably have a rather close relationship with your family and friends. It’s likely that at least some of them have fairly 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.
We get that it’s all too easy to sort of rationalize this advice away. Maybe you feel like they just caught you on a bad day or something. But taking their advice could protect the health of your hearing.
Sign #6: Your ears are ringing or you’re experiencing balance issues
When you’re experiencing ringing in your ears, you’re dealing with a condition called tinnitus. It’s really common. There are a couple of reasons why you might experience more ringing in your ears when you have hearing loss:
- Damage can cause both: 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 pronounced: Tinnitus can be drowned-out by everyday noises in your day-to-day life. But as hearing loss makes those background sounds quieter, tinnitus symptoms come to the front.
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 assessment.
Sign #7: Socializing leaves you feeling exhausted
Maybe you’ve always been an introvert at heart, and that’s why social situations have grown completely 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 event feeling utterly depleted, your hearing (or lack thereof) might be the reason why. When there are interruptions in what you hear, your brain tries really hard to fill in those holes. This is fatiguing (no matter how good your brain is), particularly over the long run. So when you’re in particularly challenging situations (such as a noisy space), you may experience even more fatigue.
Start by coming to see us
The truth is that we all encounter some hearing damage in our lifetimes. Just how much (and how frequently you were using hearing protection) may have a big 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.