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. Today’s banana can grow easily in a wide variety of climates, are more robust, and can sprout faster. And they taste very different. So why haven’t you noticed the great banana swap? Well, the reality is that it happened slowly, over time. You never noticed the gradual switch.
The same thing can occur with your ears and hearing loss. It’s not like you wake up one day and can’t hear anything. In most cases of hearing loss, it goes undetected because it develops so slowly.
Early treatment can really help preserve your hearing so that’s an unfortunate truth. You can take measures to safeguard your hearing if you’re aware that it’s at risk. So it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for these seven signs of waning hearing.
7 signs you should get a hearing test
Hearing loss takes place gradually and over time, but it isn’t always well understood. It’s not as if you’ll go to a loud rock concert and the next day find yourself completely unable to hear. Damage to your hearing (from that rock concert and other loud noises) builds up over time. So monitoring your hearing early will be the best way to safeguard it. Neglected hearing loss has been connected to a greater risk of problems such as dementia, social solitude, and depression, so it’s not something you want to mess around with.
You should, uh, watch out for these seven indications that you may be developing hearing loss. The only way to know for sure is to get a hearing assessment, but these indicators might encourage you to make an appointment earlier than you normally would have.
Sign #1: You keep cranking up the volume on your devices
Are you constantly cranking up the volume on your devices? Perhaps they’re mixing the sound on your favorite shows differently now, or your favorite artists have begun to mumble. But it’s also possible (if not probable) that you’re hearing is slowly going, and that you’re increasing the volume of your favorite TV show or music to compensate.
If others keep telling you the volume is too loud this is particularly likely. They will often notice your hearing loss before you become aware of it.
Sign #2: You failed to hear the phone ringing (or the doorbell)
It could be an indication that you’re having hearing issues if you are continuously missing everyday sounds. Here are some common sounds you might be missing:
- Your doorbell (or a knock on the door): You thought your friend unexpectedly walked into your house but you in fact missed him knocking.
- Alarms and timers: Did you sleep through your alarm clock? Did the dinner get overcooked? It may not be your alarm’s fault.
- Your phone: Text messages coming to you but you missed them? You’re more likely to miss text messages than phone calls since nobody makes calls nowadays.
If your family and friends have pointed out that they’re kind of afraid of driving with you because you miss so many day to day 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 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 what they said and you still can’t hear what they say. Definitely, time to get a hearing exam.
Sign #4: It sounds as if everyone’s always mumbling
This one goes fairly well with #3 and we may even call it #3-A. If it sounds like everybody around you is continuously mumbling or talking under their breath, the truth is… well, they likely aren’t. That might be a relief (it’s no fun to be surrounded by people who you think are mumbling things about you). The reality is that you’re simply not hearing them because of your loss of hearing.
If you’re attempting to talk to somebody in a noisy setting or with someone who has a high pitched voice this can be particularly relevant.
Sign #5: Family members encourage you to get a hearing test (or invest in hearing aids)
You probably have a pretty close relationship with your family and friends. And some of them most likely have healthy hearing. If your family members (especially younger) are telling you that something isn’t right with your hearing, it’s a smart idea to listen to them (no pun intended).
We get that it’s all too easy to sort of rationalize this advice away. Perhaps you tell yourself it was just a bad day or whatever. But taking their advice could protect the health of your hearing.
Sign #6: You hear ringing in your ears (or experience vertigo)
When you have ringing in your ears, you’re dealing with a condition known as tinnitus. It’s not at all unusual. There are a couple of reasons why you may experience more ringing in your ears when you have hearing loss:
- Damage can cause 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 develop both hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Hearing loss can make tinnitus more noticeable: In your typical 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.
Either way, 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: Socializing leaves you feeling depleted
Maybe the reason why social interactions have become so tiring is because you’ve always been an introvert. 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 affair feeling totally depleted, your hearing (or lack thereof) might be the cause. Your brain is attempting to fill in the gaps that you can’t hear. This additional effort by your brain can leave you feeling depleted. So when you’re in especially strenuous situations (like a noisy space), you might experience even more fatigue.
The first step is calling us for an appointment
Honestly, hearing damage is common to everybody to some degree. Exactly how much (and how often you were using hearing protection) might have a big impact on when you develop hearing loss, or if you develop hearing loss in the first place.
So it may be an indication that the banana is changing if you encounter any of these signs. Happily, 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 are diagnosed.