Bananas taste a lot different then they used to. That’s because today’s banana farmers grow a very different variety of banana then they used to. These new bananas grow faster, are more robust, and can prosper in a wider variety of climates. They don’t taste the same either. So how did this change happen without us noticing? Well, the change wasn’t a fast one. You never noticed the gradual switch.
Hearing loss can occur in the same way. It isn’t like all of a sudden your hearing is totally gone. For the majority of people, hearing loss advances gradually, frequently so slowly that you don’t really recognize what’s taking place.
That’s unfortunate because early intervention can help maintain your hearing. You can take steps to protect your hearing if you recognize that it’s in danger. So it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for these seven signs of diminishing hearing.
You should get your hearing evaluated if you experience any of these 7 signs
Hearing loss occurs gradually and over time, but it’s not always well grasped. It isn’t as if you’ll go to a loud rock concert and the next day find yourself totally incapable of hearing. Damage to your hearing (from that rock concert and other loud noises) builds up over time. The sooner you deal with your hearing loss, the better off you’ll be. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to an increased danger of issues such as dementia, social isolation, and depression, so it’s not something you should mess around with.
These seven indicators are what you should be watching out for. The only way to know for certain is to get a hearing test, but these signs may encourage you to schedule an appointment earlier than you otherwise would have.
Sign #1: You’re constantly cranking the volume up
Are you continually cranking up the volume on your devices? Sure, maybe 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 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 TV is too loud this is particularly likely. They can usually notice hearing trouble in you faster than you can.
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. Here are a few common sounds you might be missing:
- Someone knocking on your door or ringing the doorbell: When your best friend abruptly walks into your house, consider the possibility that they did actually knock, you simply missed it.
- Alarms and timers: Did you burn dinner or sleep or sleep through your alarm clock? It may not be because your cook timer or alarm clock is too quiet.
- Your phone: Text messages coming to you but you’re missing them? No one calls anymore, so you’re more likely to miss a text message than a 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 asking people to repeat what they said
Is “What?” or “Pardon?” your most commonly used words? It’s likely that it’s a problem with your hearing that’s causing you to need people to repeat themselves when they talk to you. This is particularly relevant if people do repeat themselves and you still can’t hear what they’re saying. Seems like a hearing test is in order.
Sign #4: Is everyone starting to mumble?
This one goes fairly well with #3 and we may even call it #3-A. You should recognize that people most likely aren’t mumbling or talking about you under their breath even if your hearing loss is making it feel like this. That might be a comfort (it’s no fun to be surrounded by people who you think are mumbling stuff about you). Alternatively, it’s more likely that you’re just having a difficult time hearing what they’re saying.
This can be especially noticeable if you’re trying to listen to someone who has a higher pitched voice, or if you have to have a conversation in a loud space, like a restaurant.
Sign #5: Loved ones keep recommending you have your hearing tested
You most likely have a pretty close relationship with your family and friends. It’s likely that at least some of them have pretty healthy hearing. If your members of your family (particularly younger) are informing 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 feel like they just caught you on a bad day or something. But you could give your hearing an advantage by heeding their advice.
Sign #6: You hear ringing in your ears (or experience vertigo)
When you’re experiencing ringing in your ears, you’re dealing with 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’re dealing with hearing loss:
- Both can be triggered by damage: Damage causes both tinnitus and loss of hearing. So you’re more likely to experience tinnitus and hearing loss the more damaged your hearing is.
- Tinnitus is more noticeable when you have hearing loss: In your typical day-to-day life, tinnitus can be overpowered by the everyday noises you experience. But as those everyday noises recede to the background (as a result of hearing loss), the tinnitus becomes relatively louder and significantly more noticeable.
Either way, if you’re experiencing loud ringing, or even dizziness and vertigo, it could be a sign that something is going on in your ears. And that means (no surprise here), yes, you need to come see us for an exam.
Sign #7: Socializing leaves you feeling depleted
Perhaps you’ve always been an introvert at heart, and that’s why social settings have become totally exhausting. Or it may be possible that you’re not hearing as clearly as you used to.
When you leave a restaurant or a social affair feeling completely drained, your hearing (or lack thereof) could be the reason why. When there are interruptions in what you hear, your brain works 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 might experience even more fatigue.
Start by coming to see us
The truth is that we all experience some hearing damage during our lives. Just how much (and how frequently you were using hearing protection) might have a big affect 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. Thankfully, there’s something you can do about it: come in and get evaluated! You’ll be able to get treatment as soon as you get diagnosed.