Bananas don’t taste like they once did. There are rather different types of bananas being cultivated today by banana farmers. These new bananas develop faster, are more robust, and can prosper in a wider range of climates. And they taste quite different. So how did this swap occur without us noticing? Well, the change wasn’t a quick one. The change was so slow you never noticed.
Hearing loss can occur in the same way. It isn’t like all of a sudden your hearing is completely gone. For the majority of people, hearing loss develops slowly, often so slowly that you don’t really recognize what’s taking place.
That’s unfortunate because early treatment can help preserve your hearing. You can take steps to protect your hearing if you recognize that it’s in danger. That’s why it might be worthwhile to watch for these seven indications your hearing could be waning.
7 indications you should get a hearing test
Hearing loss develops slowly and over time, but it’s not always well understood. It isn’t like you’ll go to a noisy rock concert and the next day find yourself entirely unable to hear. Damage to your hearing (from that rock concert and other loud noises) increases over time. So monitoring your hearing early will be the best way to protect it. You don’t want to put off on this because neglected hearing loss has been connected to problems like social separation, depression, and dementia.
You should, uh, watch out for these seven indications that you might be experiencing hearing loss. A hearing test is the only way to know, but perhaps these warning signs will prompt you to take some early action.
Sign #1: You keep cranking up the volume on your devices
Do you find yourself frequently reaching for the volume controls? Sure, possibly it’s just that all of your favorite actors and artists have begun to mumble, or that the sound mixing on TV shows is drastically different than it used to be. But it’s also possible (if not likely) that you’re hearing is slowly 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 often notice your hearing loss before you become aware of it.
Sign #2: You failed to hear your phone ringing (or the doorbell)
If you’re frequently missing some day to day sounds, that may be an indication of trouble with your ears. Here are some common sounds you could be missing:
- Your doorbell (or a knock on the door): You thought your friend just walked into your house but you in fact missed his knocks.
- 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: Are you missing text messages? Nobody calls nowadays, so you’re more likely to miss a text message than a phone call.
If your family and friends have pointed out that they’re kind of afraid of driving with you because you miss so many day to day sounds (from honking horns to the beeping of a truck in reverse), that could be a sign that it’s time for a hearing exam.
Sign #3: You’re always needing people to repeat themselves
Is “What?” or “Pardon?” your most commonly used words? If you’re always asking people to repeat themselves, it’s very, very possible it isn’t because of them, it’s because of you (and your hearing). This is especially relevant if people do repeat themselves and you still can’t hear what they say. Probably, time to get a hearing test.
Sign #4: Is everybody starting to mumble?
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 feel like this. That may be a comfort (it’s no fun to be surrounded by individuals who you think are mumbling things about you). The truth is that you’re simply not hearing them due to your hearing loss.
This can be especially noticeable if you’re trying to listen to someone who has a higher pitched voice, or if you need to have a conversation in a noisy space, like a restaurant.
Sign #5: Loved ones keep recommending you get your hearing checked
Your family and friends probably know you quite well. And some of them most likely have healthy hearing. It’s a good idea to listen to your family members (particularly 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 do your hearing a favor by heeding their advice.
Sign #6: You hear ringing in your ears (or experience vertigo)
When you have ringing in your ears, you’re dealing with a condition called tinnitus. It’s incredibly common. There are a couple of reasons why you might experience more ringing in your ears when you’re dealing with hearing loss:
- Damage can trigger both: Damage triggers both tinnitus and hearing loss. So the more damaged your hearing system is, the more likely you are to develop both hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Hearing loss can make tinnitus more noticeable: 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.
Either way, if you’re noticing loud ringing, or even dizziness and vertigo, it could be an indication that something is happening in your ears. And that means (no shock here), yes, you should come see us for an exam.
Sign #7: You feel tired after social engagement
Perhaps you’ve always been an introvert at heart, and that’s why social settings have become completely draining. Or it might be possible that you’re not hearing as well as you once did.
When you leave a restaurant or a social affair feeling utterly drained, your hearing (or lack thereof) may be the cause. When there are interruptions in what you hear, your brain works really hard to fill in those gaps. This is exhausting (no matter how good your brain is), particularly over the long run. So when you’re in especially strenuous situations (such as a noisy space), you may experience even more exhaustion.
Start by coming to see us
The truth is that we all experience some hearing damage during our lives. Exactly how much (and how often you were wearing hearing protection) may have a big impact on when you develop hearing loss, or if you develop hearing loss in the first place.
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 tested! You’ll be able to get treatment as soon as you are diagnosed.