Bananas taste much different then they used to. That’s because today’s banana farmers grow an exceptionally different variety of banana then they did in the past. These new bananas grow faster, are more robust, and can prosper in a wider range of climates. And they taste very different. So how did this swap take place without us detecting it? Well, the change wasn’t a rapid one. The change was so slow you never noticed.
The same thing can occur with your ears and hearing loss. It isn’t like suddenly 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.
Early treatment can really help maintain your hearing so that’s an unfortunate truth. If you are aware that your hearing is in danger, for example, you may take more safeguards to protect it. So it’s a good plan to keep an eye out for these seven signs of diminishing hearing.
7 indications you should get a hearing exam
Hearing loss takes place gradually and over time, but it’s not always well understood. It’s not as if you’ll be completely incapable of hearing the day after you went to that big rock concert. Repetitive exposure to loud sound over a long period of time gradually results in noticeable hearing loss. So monitoring your hearing early will be the best way to protect it. You don’t want to put off on this because untreated hearing loss has been connected to problems like social isolation, depression, and dementia.
These seven signs are what you should be watching out for. A hearing exam is the only way to know, but maybe 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 started mumbling, or that the audio mixing on TV shows is dramatically different than it used to be. But it’s also possible (if not likely) 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 problems in you sooner than you can.
Sign #2: You didn’t hear your phone ringing (or the doorbell)
It could be an indication that you’re having hearing problems if you are continuously missing everyday sounds. Here are some common sounds you might be missing:
- Your doorbell (or a knock on the door): You thought your friend unexpectedly walked into your house but you in fact 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 anymore, so you’re more likely to miss a text message than a call.
If your loved ones have stated that they’re a little scared of driving with you because you’re missing so many everyday sounds (from honking horns to the beeping of a truck backing up), that could be an indication that it’s time for a hearing assessment.
Sign #3: You keep needing people to repeat what they said
Is “What?” or “Pardon?” your most frequently used words? It’s likely that it’s an issue with your hearing that’s causing you to need people to repeat themselves when they talk to you. If people do repeat themselves and you still don’t hear them this is especially relevant. Seems like a hearing test is in order.
Sign #4: Is everybody starting to mumble?
This one goes fairly well with #3 and we may even call it #3-A. If it sounds like everybody around you is constantly mumbling or talking under their breath, the truth is… well, they probably aren’t. It’s stressful to always feel like people are mumbling about you, so it might be a comfort to learn they’re actually not. The reality is that you’re just not hearing them due to your loss of hearing.
If you’re trying to talk to someone in a noisy setting or with someone who has a high pitched voice this can be especially true.
Sign #5: Family members encourage you to take a hearing assessment (or get hearing aids)
You probably have a rather close relationship with your family and friends. It’s likely that at least some of them have fairly 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).
We get that it’s all too easy to sort of rationalize this recommendation away. Perhaps you tell yourself it was just a bad day or whatever. But you could do your hearing a favor by heeding their advice.
Sign #6: Your ears are ringing or you’re experiencing balance problems
When you have ringing in your ears, you’re dealing with a condition known as tinnitus. It isn’t at all unusual. There are a couple of reasons why you might experience more ringing in your ears when you have hearing loss:
- Damage can cause both: Damage causes both tinnitus and hearing loss. So the more damaged your hearing system is, the more likely you are to suffer from both hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Tinnitus is more obvious when you have hearing loss: Tinnitus can be drowned-out by everyday noises in your day-to-day life. 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 a sign that something is happening in your ears. This means it’s time to come see us for a hearing test.
Sign #7: You feel fatigued after social interactions
Perhaps the reason why social interactions have become so exhausting is because you’ve always been an introvert. 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 event feeling totally exhausted, your hearing (or lack thereof) might be the reason why. Your brain is trying to fill in the gaps that you can’t hear. This extra effort by your brain can leave you feeling depleted. So when you’re in particularly challenging situations (such as a noisy space), you may experience even more exhaustion.
Start by coming to see us
The truth is that we all encounter some hearing damage during our lives. Just how much (and how frequently you were wearing hearing protection) might have a huge impact on when you develop hearing loss, or if you develop hearing loss at all.
So it might be an indication that the banana is changing if you experience any of these signs. Luckily, you can take matters into your own hands and contact us for an appointment. The sooner your hearing loss is diagnosed, the sooner you’ll be able to get treatment.