Bananas don’t taste the same as they once did. That’s because today’s banana farmers grow an exceptionally different variety of banana then they used to. These new bananas sprout faster, are more robust, and can prosper in a wider range of climates. And they taste quite different. So why haven’t you noticed the great banana exchange? Well, the change wasn’t a quick one. You never noticed the gradual change.
The same thing can occur with your ears and hearing loss. It isn’t like suddenly your hearing is entirely gone. In most cases of hearing loss, it goes unnoticed because it progresses so slowly.
That’s regrettable because early intervention can help preserve your hearing. You can take measures to safeguard your hearing if you recognize that it’s at risk. So it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for these seven signs of waning hearing.
7 indications you should get a hearing assessment
Hearing loss develops slowly and over time, but it isn’t always well grasped. It isn’t like you’ll be completely unable to hear the day after you went to that big rock concert. Damage to your hearing (from that rock concert and other loud noises) increases over time. The sooner you deal with your hearing loss, the better off you’ll be. You don’t want to put off on this because untreated hearing loss has been connected to issues such as social isolation, depression, and dementia.
These seven signs are what you should be paying attention to out for. The only way to know for certain is to get a hearing exam, but these signs might encourage you to schedule an appointment earlier than you normally would have.
Sign #1: You’re continually cranking the volume up
Are you continually turning up the volume on your devices? Sure, maybe it’s just that all of your favorite actors and artists have started mumbling, 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 cranking the volume up on your devices.
If others keep telling you the volume is too high this is particularly likely. They can usually spot hearing trouble in you faster than you can.
Sign #2: You didn’t hear your phone ringing (or the doorbell)
If you’re regularly missing some day to day sounds, that could be an indication of trouble with your ears. Here are some common sounds you may be missing:
- Your doorbell (or someone knocking on the door): You thought your friend just walked into your house but you in fact missed him knocking.
- Alarms and timers: 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 not loud enough.
- Your phone: Text messages coming to you but you’re missing them? You’re more likely to miss text messages than phone calls since no one makes calls these days.
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’re continuously needing people to repeat themselves
Are your most frequently used words “what?” or “pardon?”? It’s likely that it’s a problem with your hearing that’s causing you to need people to repeat what they said when they’re talking with you. This is particularly true if people do repeat what they said and you still can’t hear what they’re saying. Seems like a hearing test is in order.
Sign #4: It sounds like everyone’s always mumbling
You could also call this sign #3-A, since they go rather well together. You should realize that people most likely aren’t mumbling or talking about you under their breath even if your hearing loss is making it seem like this. It’s stressful to always feel like people are mumbling about you, so it may be a relief to find out they’re actually not. Instead, it’s more likely that you’re just having a difficult time hearing what they’re saying.
If you’re attempting to talk to someone in a noisy setting or with someone who has a high pitched voice this can be especially relevant.
Sign #5: Family members prompt you to take a hearing exam (or get hearing aids)
Your friends and family most likely know you pretty well. It’s likely that at least some of them have fairly healthy hearing. If your family members (especially younger) are informing you that something isn’t right with your hearing, it’s a good idea to listen to them (no pun intended).
We understand that it’s all too easy to sort of rationalize this recommendation away. Perhaps you think they just caught you on a bad day or something. But taking their advice could maintain the health of your hearing.
Sign #6: You hear ringing in your ears (or experience vertigo)
Ringing in your ears is a condition known as tinnitus. It isn’t at all uncommon. When you have hearing loss, your tinnitus can become extreme for a couple of reasons:
- Both can be triggered by damage: Both hearing loss and tinnitus can be the result of damage. So you’re more likely to develop tinnitus and hearing loss the more damaged your hearing is.
- Hearing loss can make tinnitus more pronounced: In your normal day-to-day life, tinnitus can be overpowered by the everyday noises you experience. But as those everyday noises recede to the background (due to hearing loss), the tinnitus becomes relatively louder and substantially more noticeable.
It could be an indication that you’re dealing with problems with your ears, either way, if you have loud noises in your ears or balance issues and vertigo. This means it’s time to come see us for a hearing assessment.
Sign #7: Socializing leaves you feeling depleted
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 affair feeling totally exhausted, your hearing (or lack thereof) may be the cause. Your brain is attempting to fill in the gaps that you can’t hear. This is exhausting (no matter how good your brain is), particularly over the long run. So when you’re in especially challenging situations (such as a noisy space), you may experience even more exhaustion.
Begin by coming to see us
Honestly, hearing damage is normal to everybody to some level. Just how much (and how often you were wearing hearing protection) may have a big affect 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 an indication that the banana is changing. 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 receive treatment.