Bananas don’t taste the same as they once did. There are extremely different varieties of bananas being grown these days by banana farmers. These new bananas sprout faster, are more resilient, and can thrive in a wider variety of climates. They don’t taste the same either. So how did this swap take place without us detecting it? Well, the truth is that it developed slowly, over time. The change was so gradual you never noticed.
Hearing loss can happen in the same way. It isn’t like you wake up one day and can’t hear anything. For most people, hearing loss progresses slowly, frequently so slowly that you don’t really recognize what’s taking place.
That’s unfortunate because early intervention can help preserve your hearing. If you are aware that your hearing is in danger, for instance, you may take more precautions to protect it. That’s why it may be worthwhile to watch for these seven signs your hearing could be waning.
You should get your hearing tested if you exhibit any of these 7 indicators
Hearing loss develops gradually and over time, but it’s not always well understood. It isn’t like you’ll go to a loud rock concert and the next day find yourself completely incapable of hearing. Repeated exposure to loud noise over a long period of time gradually leads to recognizable hearing loss. So monitoring your hearing early will be the best way to protect it. You shouldn’t put off on this because neglected hearing loss has been linked to problems like social isolation, depression, and dementia.
You should, uh, watch out for these seven indications that you might be experiencing hearing loss. The only way to know for certain is to get a hearing exam, but these signs might encourage you to make an appointment earlier than you normally would have.
Sign #1: You’re continually turning up the volume
Do you find yourself constantly reaching for the volume controls? Maybe they’re mixing the audio on your favorite shows differently now, or your favorite artists have started to mumble. But it’s also possible (if not probable) that you’re hearing is gradually degrading, and that you’re raising the volume of your favorite TV show or music to compensate.
This is particularly the case if your family has also constantly been telling you that the TV is too loud. They will frequently observe your hearing loss before you notice it.
Sign #2: You missed the doorbell (or a phone call)
If you’re regularly missing some day to day sounds, that might be an indication of issues with your ears. A few of the most ordinary noises you might miss include:
- Somebody knocking on your door or ringing your doorbell: When your good friend unexpectedly walks into your house, take into account the possibility that they did actually knock, you simply missed it.
- Alarms and timers: Did you sleep through your alarm clock ringing? Did the dinner get overcooked? It might not be because your cook timer or alarm clock is not loud enough.
- Your phone: Are you failing to get text messages? Nobody makes phone calls anymore, so you’re more likely to miss a text message than a phone call.
You’re missing important sounds while driving, like honking horns or trucks beeping while backing up, and your friends and family are becoming afraid to drive with you.
Sign #3: You’re continuously asking people to repeat what they said
Are your most frequently 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 talk to you. This is particularly true if people do repeat what they said and you still can’t hear what they’re saying. Definitely, time to get a hearing test.
Sign #4: Is everybody starting to mumble?
This one goes pretty well with #3 and we might even call it #3-A. You should know that people most likely 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 feel like people are mumbling about you, so it might be a relief to find out they’re actually not. Alternatively, it’s more likely that you’re simply having a hard 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 particularly relevant.
Sign #5: Family members encourage you to get a hearing exam (or invest in hearing aids)
Your friends and family probably know you quite well. It’s likely that at least some of them have fairly healthy hearing. It’s a smart plan to listen to your family members (especially the younger ones) if they are telling you something is going on with your hearing.
It’s easy to understand that you would want to rationalize away this proposal. Perhaps you feel like they just caught you on a bad day or something. But you could give your hearing an advantage by taking their advice.
Sign #6: Your ears are ringing or you’re experiencing balance problems
Ringing in your ears is a condition known as tinnitus. It’s not at all unusual. When you’re dealing with hearing loss, your tinnitus can become extreme for a couple of reasons:
- Both can be caused by damage: Damage triggers both tinnitus and loss of hearing. So you’re more likely to develop tinnitus and hearing loss the more damaged your hearing is.
- Tinnitus is more noticeable when you have hearing loss: Tinnitus can be drowned-out by everyday noises in your day-to-day life. But as those everyday noises recede to the background (due to hearing loss), the tinnitus becomes comparatively louder and substantially more noticeable.
It could be an indication that you’re dealing with issues with your ears, either way, if you have loud noises in your ears or balance issues and vertigo. And that means (no shock here), yes, you need to come see us for an exam.
Sign #7: Socializing leaves you feeling exhausted
Perhaps you’ve always been an introvert at heart, and that’s why social situations have become totally draining. Or maybe, and just hear us out here (again with the puns), your hearing isn’t what it once was.
Your hearing might be the cause when you feel wiped out after leaving a restaurant or social affair. Your brain is attempting to fill in the holes that you can’t hear. This additional effort by your brain can leave you feeling depleted. So when you’re in especially challenging situations (like a noisy space), you might experience even more exhaustion.
Start by coming to see us
The truth is that we all experience some hearing damage in our lifetimes. If or when you develop hearing loss is heavily dependent on how well you safeguard your ears when you’re exposed to loud noise.
So if you’ve encountered any of these signs, it’s an indication that the banana is changing. Thankfully, there’s something you can do about it: come in and get tested! You’ll be able to get treatment as soon as you are diagnosed.