Bananas taste much different then they used to. There are rather different types of bananas being cultivated nowadays by banana farmers. These new bananas develop faster, are more resilient, and can thrive in a wider variety of climates. And they taste very different. So why haven’t you detected the great banana swap? Well, the change wasn’t a rapid one. The change was so slow you never noticed.
Hearing loss can occur in a similar way. It isn’t like all of a sudden your hearing is completely gone. For most people, hearing loss advances gradually, frequently so slowly that you don’t really realize what’s happening.
That’s unfortunate because early intervention can help maintain your hearing. If you know that your hearing is at risk, for example, you might take more safeguards 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 isn’t always well grasped as it happens gradually over time. It isn’t as if you’ll be totally unable to hear the day after you went to that big rock concert. Repetitive exposure to loud noise over a long period of time slowly leads to recognizable hearing loss. The sooner you treat your hearing loss, the better off you’ll be. Neglected hearing loss has been linked to an increased risk of issues such as dementia, social solitude, and depression, so it’s not something you should mess around with.
You should, uh, watch out for these seven signs that you may be developing hearing loss. The only way to know for sure is to get a hearing exam, but these indicators may encourage you to schedule an appointment earlier than you normally would have.
Sign #1: You’re constantly turning the volume up
Are you constantly turning up the volume on your devices? Perhaps they’re mixing the sound on your favorite shows differently now, or your favorite actors have started to mumble. But it’s also possible (if not probable) that you’re hearing is slowly degrading, and that you’re raising the volume of your favorite TV show or music to compensate.
If others keep telling you the TV is too high this is especially likely. They can usually notice hearing trouble in you faster than you can.
Sign #2: You missed the doorbell (or a phone call)
If you’re regularly missing some day to day sounds, that may be a sign of trouble with your ears. Some of the most ordinary noises you may miss include:
- Someone knocking on your door or ringing your doorbell: You thought your friend just walked into your house but you in fact missed him knocking.
- Alarms and timers: Did you burn dinner or sleep or sleep through the ringing of your alarm clock? It may not be your alarm’s fault.
- Your phone: Text messages coming to you but you missed them? No one makes phone calls anymore, so you’re more likely to miss a text message than a phone call.
You’re missing essential sounds while driving, like honking horns or trucks beeping while backing up, and your family and friends are becoming afraid to drive with you.
Sign #3: You keep needing people to repeat what they said
Is “What?” or “Pardon?” your most commonly used words? It’s likely that it’s an issue with your hearing that’s causing you to need people to repeat themselves when they talk to you. If people do repeat what they said and you still fail to hear them this is particularly relevant. Most likely, time to get a hearing exam.
Sign #4: It sounds like everybody’s always mumbling
This one goes fairly well with #3 and we might even call it #3-A. You should realize that people probably aren’t mumbling or talking about you under their breath even if your hearing loss is making it seem that way. It’s stressful to always think people are mumbling about you, so it may be a relief to learn they’re actually not. Alternatively, it’s more likely that you’re just having a difficult time hearing what they’re saying.
This can be particularly noticeable if you’re trying to listen to somebody who has a higher pitched voice, or if you need to have a conversation in a loud space, like a restaurant.
Sign #5: Loved ones keep recommending you have your hearing tested
Your friends and family probably know you pretty well. It’s likely that at least some of them have fairly healthy hearing. If your family members (particularly younger) are telling you that something isn’t right with your hearing, it’s a good plan to listen to them (no pun intended).
It’s understandable that you would want to rationalize away this advice. Perhaps you tell yourself it was just a bad day or whatever. But taking their advice could preserve the health of your hearing.
Sign #6: Your ears are ringing or you’re experiencing balance issues
Ringing in your ears is a condition known as tinnitus. It isn’t at all uncommon. There are a couple of reasons why you might experience more ringing in your ears when you have hearing loss:
- Damage can trigger both: Both hearing loss and tinnitus can be brought on by damage. So you’re more likely to develop tinnitus and hearing loss the more damaged your hearing is.
- Tinnitus is more pronounced when you have hearing loss: In your ordinary day-to-day life, tinnitus can be overpowered by the everyday noises you encounter. But as hearing loss makes those background sounds quieter, tinnitus symptoms come to the front.
It could be a sign that you’re experiencing issues with your ears, either way, if you have loud noises in your ears or balance issues and vertigo. And that means (no surprise here), yes, you need to come see us for an exam.
Sign #7: Socializing leaves you feeling exhausted
Maybe the reason why social situations have become so exhausting is because you’ve always been an introvert. Or perhaps, 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 completely depleted, your hearing (or lack thereof) might be the cause. Your brain is attempting to fill in the holes that you can’t hear. This extra effort by your brain can leave you feeling exhausted. So when you’re in particularly 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 level. If or when you develop hearing loss has a lot to do with how well you safeguard your ears when you’re subjected to loud sound.
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.