Bananas don’t taste the same as they once did. That’s because today’s banana farmers grow a really different type of banana then they used to. These new bananas develop faster, are more robust, and can prosper in a wider range of climates. And they taste very different. So how did this change take place without us detecting it? Well, the truth is that it happened slowly, through the years. The change was so gradual you never noticed.
The same thing can take place with your ears and hearing loss. It’s not like you get up one day and can’t hear anything. In most circumstances of hearing loss, it goes undetected because it progresses so slowly.
That’s regrettable because early treatment 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. So it’s a good plan to be on the lookout for these seven signs of waning hearing.
You should have your hearing evaluated if you experience any of these 7 signs
Hearing loss isn’t always well understood as it happens gradually over time. It isn’t as if you’ll be totally unable to hear the day after you went to that big rock concert. Repetitive exposure to loud sound over a long period of time slowly leads to noticeable hearing loss. The sooner you manage your hearing loss, the better off you’ll be. Neglected hearing loss has been linked to an increased danger of problems including dementia, social isolation, and depression, so it’s not something you should mess around with.
These seven signs are what you should be watching out for. A hearing exam is the only way to be sure, but perhaps these warning signs will motivate you to take some early action.
Sign #1: You keep cranking up the volume on your devices
Are you continually turning up the volume on your devices? Sure, maybe 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 going, and that you’re raising the volume of your favorite TV show or music to compensate.
This is particularly the situation if your family has also constantly been telling you that the TV is too loud. They can usually notice hearing problems in you sooner than you can.
Sign #2: You missed the doorbell (or a phone call)
It could be an indication that you’re having hearing trouble if you are constantly missing day to day sounds. Here are a few common sounds you might be missing:
- Somebody knocking on your door or ringing your doorbell: You thought your friend unexpectedly walked into your house but you in fact missed his knocks.
- Timers and alarms: Did you sleep through your alarm clock? Did the dinner get burned? It may not be your alarm’s fault.
- Your phone: Text messages coming to you but you’re missing them? Nobody calls nowadays, so you’re more likely to miss a text message than a call.
You’re missing essential 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 always needing people to repeat what they said
Is “What?” or “Pardon?” your most frequently used words? If you’re constantly asking people to repeat themselves, it’s very, very possible it isn’t because of them, it’s because of you (and your hearing). If people do repeat themselves and you still don’t hear them this is particularly relevant. Most likely, time to schedule a hearing exam.
Sign #4: Is everybody starting to mumble?
You could also call this sign #3-A, because they go rather well together. If it sounds like everyone around you is constantly mumbling or talking under their breath, the truth is… well, they likely aren’t. It’s stressful to always think people are mumbling about you, so it might be a relief to learn they’re actually not. The truth is that you’re simply not hearing them because of 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 relevant.
Sign #5: Family members encourage you to take a hearing test (or get hearing aids)
You probably have a rather close relationship with your family and friends. And some of them most likely have healthy hearing. If your family members (particularly younger) are informing you that something is wrong with your hearing, it’s a smart plan to listen to them (no pun intended).
It’s easy to understand that you would want to rationalize away this proposal. Maybe you feel like they just caught you on a bad day or something. But heeding 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 called tinnitus. It’s extremely common. When you have hearing loss, your tinnitus can become severe for a couple of reasons:
- Both can be caused by damage: Damage triggers both tinnitus and loss of hearing. So the more damaged your hearing system is, the more likely you are to suffer from both hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Hearing loss can make tinnitus more pronounced: In your ordinary day-to-day life, tinnitus can be overpowered by the everyday noises you experience. But as hearing loss makes those background sounds quieter, tinnitus symptoms come to the front.
It could be a sign that you’re dealing with problems 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 a hearing test.
Sign #7: You feel fatigued after social interactions
Perhaps you’ve always been an introvert at heart, and that’s why social situations have grown completely draining. Or perhaps, and just hear us out here (again with the puns), your hearing isn’t what it once was.
Your hearing could be the cause when you feel wiped out after leaving a restaurant or social event. When there are interruptions in what you hear, your brain works overtime to fill in those gaps. This extra effort by your brain can leave you feeling exhausted. So you might experience even more fatigue when you’re in a particularly noisy setting.
The first step is calling us for an appointment
Honestly, hearing damage is normal to everybody to some level. If or when you develop hearing loss has a lot to do with how well you safeguard your ears when you’re subjected to loud noise.
So it might be an indication that the banana is changing if you encounter any of these signs. 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 get diagnosed.