Do You Need a Hearing Test? Here’s What You Should Know

Man with hearing loss trying to hear at the dinner table with his family.

Your last family get together was frustrating. Not because of any intra-family drama (though there’s always some of that). The issue was the noise, which was making it hard to hear anything. So you didn’t get the details about Judy’s promotion, and you didn’t have an opportunity to ask about Jay’s new puppy. The whole experience was extremely aggravating. You feel like the room’s acoustics played a big part. But you can’t totally ignore the possibility that perhaps your hearing is starting to go bad.

It can be incredibly challenging to self-diagnose hearing loss (that’s why, generally, it’s not advisable). But there are a few early warning signs you should keep your eye on. If some of these warning signs appear, it’s probably time to have your hearing examined.

Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs

Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is evident. But if you should find yourself noticing any of the items on the following list, you just may be dealing with some amount of hearing loss.

Here are a few of the warning signs of hearing loss:

  • You experience some that your ears are ringing: Ringing in your ears is called tinnitus (and, actually, tinnitus can be other sounds too: thumping, buzzing, screeching, humming, and so on). Tinnitus isn’t always associated with hearing problems, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is most likely in order.
  • It’s suddenly very hard to understand phone calls: People do a lot of texting nowadays, so you might not take as many phone calls as you once did. But if you’re having trouble understanding the phone calls you do receive (even with the volume cranked all the way up), you may be facing another red flag for your hearing.
  • When you’re in a noisy crowded place, conversations tend to get lost. This is exactly what occurred during the “family dinner” illustration above, and it’s often an early sign of trouble with hearing.
  • You find it’s hard to understand particular words. When consonants become difficult to differentiate this red flag should go up. Normally, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are muffled. It can also commonly be the p- and t- sounds or the s- and f- sounds
  • You find that some sounds become unbearably loud. It’s one of the more unusual early warning signs associated with loss of hearing, but hyperacusis is common enough that you may find yourself encountering its symptoms. If particular sounds become unbearably loud (especially if the issue doesn’t resolve itself in short order), that could be an early hearing loss symptom.
  • Someone observes that the volume on your media devices gets louder and louder. Maybe the volume on your phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or perhaps your TV speakers are maxed out. Usually, it’s a friend, neighbor, or a family member that makes you recognize the increasing volumes.
  • You often need people to repeat what they said. This is particularly true if you’re asking several people to slow down, say something again, or speak up. You may not even recognize you’re making such regular requests, but it can certainly be an early sign of diminishing hearing.
  • High pitched sounds are difficult to hear. Maybe you find your tea kettle has been whistling for a while without your knowledge. Or perhaps the doorbell rings, and you never notice it. Early hearing loss is normally most noticeable in specific (and often high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
  • It’s Time to Get a Hearing Test

    You still can’t be certain whether you’re dealing with hearing loss even if you are encountering some of these early warning signs. You will need to get a hearing exam to know for sure.

    You could very well be going through some level of hearing loss even if you’re only experiencing one of these early warning signs. What level of hearing loss you might be dealing with can only be determined with a hearing evaluation. And then you’ll be better equipped to get the best treatment.

    This will make your next family get together a lot smoother and more enjoyable.

    The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.