Bananas don’t taste like they once did. That’s because today’s banana farmers grow a really different variety of banana then they used to. Today’s banana can grow easily in a large number of climates, are more resilient, and can develop faster. And they taste very different. So how did this swap happen without us noticing? Well, the change wasn’t a fast one. The change was so gradual you never noticed.
Hearing loss can happen in a similar way. It’s not like all of a sudden your hearing is entirely gone. For most people, hearing loss develops slowly, often so slowly that you don’t really recognize what’s happening.
That’s unfortunate because early intervention can help maintain your hearing. If you are aware that your hearing is at risk, for example, you may take more precautions to protect it. That’s why it may be significant to watch for these seven indications your hearing could be waning.
7 signs you should get a hearing test
Hearing loss occurs gradually and over time, but it isn’t always well understood. It’s not like you’ll be completely incapable of hearing the day after you went to that big rock concert. Repeated exposure to loud sound over a long period of time gradually results in recognizable hearing loss. So keeping an eye on your hearing early will be the best way to safeguard it. Neglected hearing loss has been linked to a greater danger of problems such as dementia, social isolation, and depression, so it’s not something you should mess around with.
These seven signs are what you should be paying attention to out for. A hearing test is the only way to be sure, but maybe these warning signs will prompt you to take some early action.
Sign #1: You’re continually turning the volume up
Are you continually cranking up the volume on your devices? Maybe they’re mixing the sound on your favorite shows differently now, or your favorite actors have begun to mumble. But it’s also possible (if not likely) 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 regularly been telling you that the TV is too loud. They will frequently detect your hearing loss before you become aware of it.
Sign #2: You missed the doorbell (or a phone call)
If you’re constantly missing some everyday sounds, that might be a sign 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 unexpectedly walked into your house but you in fact missed him knocking.
- Timers and alarms: Did you sleep through your alarm clock ringing? Did the dinner get burned? It may not be because your cook timer or alarm clock is too quiet.
- Your phone: Are you missing text messages? No one calls anymore, so you’re more likely to miss a text message than a phone call.
You’re missing crucial sounds while driving, like honking horns or trucks beeping while backing up, and your family and friends are becoming scared to drive with you.
Sign #3: You keep asking people to repeat what they said
Are your most commonly 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 themselves when they’re talking with you. If people do repeat themselves and you still fail to hear them this is especially relevant. Looks like a hearing test is needed.
Sign #4: It sounds as if everybody’s always mumbling
You could also call this sign #3-A, because they go rather well together. You should know that people probably aren’t mumbling or talking about you under their breath even if your hearing loss is making it seem like this. It’s stressful to always feel like people are mumbling about you, so it may be a comfort to learn they’re actually not. The reality is that you’re just not hearing them because of your hearing loss.
This can be especially pronounced if you’re trying to listen to somebody who has a higher pitched voice, or if you have to have a conversation in a loud space, like a restaurant.
Sign #5: Loved ones keep recommending you get your hearing tested
Your friends and family probably know you quite well. And some of them most likely have healthy hearing. If your family members (especially younger) are telling 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. Possibly you tell yourself it was just a bad day or whatever. But taking their advice could preserve 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 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 caused by damage: Damage causes both tinnitus and hearing loss. So you’re more likely to develop tinnitus and hearing loss the more damaged your hearing is.
- Tinnitus is more obvious when you have hearing loss: Tinnitus can be drowned-out by everyday noises in your daily life. But as those everyday noises recede to the background (as a result of hearing loss), the tinnitus becomes relatively louder and substantially more noticeable.
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 assessment.
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 maybe, and just hear us out here (again with the puns), your hearing isn’t what it once was.
Your hearing might be the reason why you feel wiped out after leaving a restaurant or social event. Your brain is trying to fill in the holes that you can’t hear. This is fatiguing (no matter how good your brain is), especially over the long run. So when you’re in especially strenuous situations (such as a noisy space), you may experience even more exhaustion.
Begin by coming to see us
Honestly, hearing damage is common to everybody to some level. Just how much (and how often you were using 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 encounter any of these signs. Thankfully, there’s something you can do about it: come in and get tested! The sooner your hearing loss is diagnosed, the sooner you’ll be able to receive treatment.