Bananas don’t taste the same as they once did. There are rather different varieties of bananas being cultivated these days by banana farmers. These new bananas grow faster, are more robust, and can prosper in a wider range of climates. They don’t taste the same either. So how did this swap occur without us detecting it? Well, the truth is that it developed slowly, through the years. You never noticed the gradual change.
Hearing loss can happen in the same way. It’s not like all of a sudden your hearing is entirely gone. For most individuals, hearing loss advances slowly, often so slowly that you don’t really realize what’s taking place.
That’s regrettable because early intervention can help maintain your hearing. You can take measures to protect your hearing if you’re aware that it’s in danger. 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 assessment
Hearing loss occurs gradually and over time, but it’s not always well grasped. It’s not like you’ll be totally unable to hear the day after you went to that big rock show. Damage to your hearing (from that rock concert and other loud noises) increases over time. The earlier you deal with your hearing loss, the better off you’ll be. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to an increased danger of problems like dementia, social isolation, and depression, so it isn’t something you should mess about with.
These seven signs are what you should be watching out for. The only way to know for sure is to get a hearing test, but these signs might encourage you to make an appointment earlier than you normally would have.
Sign #1: You keep turning up the volume on your devices
Do you find yourself continuously reaching for the volume controls? Maybe they’re mixing the sound on your favorite shows differently now, or your favorite actors have begun to mumble. 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 loud this is especially likely. They can often recognize hearing problems in you faster than you can.
Sign #2: You didn’t hear the phone ringing (or the doorbell)
If you’re frequently missing some day to day sounds, that could be a sign of trouble with your ears. Here are a few common sounds you could be missing:
- Somebody knocking on your door or ringing your doorbell: You thought your friend unexpectedly walked into your house but actually missed his knocks.
- Alarms and timers: Did you overcook dinner or sleep or sleep through the ringing of your alarm clock? It might not be your alarm’s fault.
- Your phone: Text messages coming to you but you’re missing them? No one makes phone calls nowadays, so you’re more likely to miss a text message than a call.
If your family and friends have pointed out that they’re kind of scared of driving with you because you’re missing 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 test.
Sign #3: You keep needing people to repeat what they said
Is “What?” or “Pardon?” your most frequently used words? If you’re always asking people to repeat what they said, it’s very, very possible it isn’t because of them, it’s because of you (and your hearing). This is particularly relevant if people do repeat what they said and you still don’t hear what they say. Looks like a hearing test is needed.
Sign #4: It sounds like everyone’s always mumbling
This one goes pretty well with #3 and we may even call it #3-A. If it sounds like everyone around you is constantly mumbling or talking under their breath, the reality is… well, they probably aren’t. That may be a relief (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 simply 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 particularly relevant.
Sign #5: Family members prompt you to get a hearing exam (or invest in hearing aids)
You probably have a rather 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 (especially younger) are telling you that something is wrong with your hearing, it’s a smart idea to listen to them (no pun intended).
It’s easy to understand that you would want to rationalize away this proposal. Maybe you think they just caught you on a bad day or something. But you could give your hearing an advantage by heeding their advice.
Sign #6: Your ears are ringing or you’re experiencing balance issues
When you have 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:
- Both can be triggered by damage: Both hearing loss and tinnitus can be brought on by damage. So you’re more likely to experience tinnitus and hearing loss the more damaged your hearing is.
- 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 those everyday noises fade to the background (due to hearing loss), the tinnitus becomes comparatively louder and substantially more noticeable.
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. This means it’s time to come see us for a hearing test.
Sign #7: Socializing leaves you feeling depleted
Maybe the reason why social interactions 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 used to be.
Your hearing might be the reason why you feel wiped out after leaving a restaurant or social affair. Your brain is trying to fill in the holes that you can’t hear. This extra effort by your brain can leave you feeling depleted. So you may experience even more fatigue when you’re in a particularly noisy setting.
Start by coming to see us
The truth is that we all encounter some hearing damage during our lives. If or when you develop hearing loss has a lot to do with how well you protect your ears when you’re exposed to loud sound.
So it might be an indication that the banana is changing if you experience any of these signs. Fortunately, there’s something you can do about it: come in and get evaluated! The sooner your hearing loss is identified, the sooner you’ll be able to receive treatment.