Bananas don’t taste the same as they once did. There are extremely different varieties of bananas being cultivated today by banana farmers. Today’s banana can develop easily in a wide variety of climates, are more resilient, and can develop faster. And they taste very different. So how did this swap take place without us detecting it? Well, the truth is that it developed slowly, over time. You never noticed the gradual switch.
The same thing can happen with your ears and hearing loss. It isn’t like suddenly your hearing is entirely gone. In most cases of hearing loss, it goes unobserved because it develops so slowly.
Early treatment can really help maintain your hearing so that’s an unfortunate truth. You can take steps to safeguard your hearing if you recognize that it’s in danger. That’s why it might be important to watch for these seven indications your hearing could be waning.
You should get your hearing evaluated if you exhibit any of these 7 indicators
Hearing loss isn’t always thoroughly understood as it develops slowly over time. It isn’t as if you’ll go to a loud rock concert and the next day find yourself entirely incapable of hearing. Damage to your hearing (from that rock concert and other loud noises) builds up over time. The earlier you deal with your hearing loss, the better off you’ll be. You shouldn’t put off on this because untreated hearing loss has been connected to problems such as social separation, depression, and dementia.
You should, uh, keep your ear to the ground for these seven indications that you might be experiencing hearing loss. The only way to know for sure is to get a hearing assessment, but these signs might encourage you to make an appointment earlier than you otherwise would have.
Sign #1: You keep cranking up the volume on your devices
Are you continually cranking up the volume on your devices? Perhaps they’re mixing the audio on your favorite shows differently now, or your favorite actors have started 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.
If others keep telling you the TV is too high this is particularly likely. They can often notice hearing trouble in you sooner than you can.
Sign #2: You didn’t hear your phone ringing (or the doorbell)
If you’re regularly missing some day to day sounds, that may be an indication of trouble with your ears. Some of the most ordinary sounds you might miss include:
- Your doorbell (or a knock on the door): When your good friend unexpectedly walks into your house, take into account the possibility that they did in fact knock, you simply missed it.
- Timers and alarms: Did you sleep through your alarm clock? Did the dinner get burned? It might not be because your cook timer or alarm clock is not loud enough.
- Your phone: Are you failing to get text messages? No one calls nowadays, so you’re more likely to miss a text message than a call.
If your loved ones have pointed out that they’re a little afraid of driving with you because you miss so many everyday sounds (from honking horns to the beeping of a truck backing up), that could be a sign that it’s time for a hearing assessment.
Sign #3: You’re continuously needing people to repeat themselves
Are your most frequently used words “what?” or “pardon?”? It’s likely that it’s a problem with your hearing that’s causing you to need people to repeat themselves when they talk to you. This is especially relevant if people do repeat what they said and you still don’t hear what they say. Seems like a hearing test is in order.
Sign #4: It sounds as if everybody’s always mumbling
This one goes fairly well with #3 and we might even call it #3-A. You should recognize that people probably aren’t mumbling or talking about you under their breath even if your hearing loss is making it feel that way. That might be a comfort (it’s no fun to be surrounded by people who you think are mumbling stuff about you). The truth is that you’re just not hearing them because of your loss of hearing.
This can be particularly noticeable if you’re trying to listen to somebody who has a higher pitched voice, or if you have to have a conversation in a noisy space, like a restaurant.
Sign #5: Family members encourage you to get a hearing assessment (or get hearing aids)
Your family and friends probably know you quite well. And some of them probably have healthy hearing. It’s a good plan to pay attention to your family members (particularly the younger ones) if they are telling you something’s up with your hearing.
It’s easy to understand that you would want to rationalize away this proposal. Perhaps you tell yourself it was just a bad day or whatever. But taking their advice could preserve the health of your hearing.
Sign #6: Your ears are ringing or you’re experiencing balance issues
When you have ringing in your ears, you’re dealing with a condition known as tinnitus. It’s not at all uncommon. When you have hearing loss, your tinnitus can become profound for a couple of reasons:
- Damage can cause both: Both hearing loss and tinnitus can be caused by damage. So the more damaged your hearing system is, the more likely you are to suffer from both hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Tinnitus is more pronounced when you have hearing loss: In your typical day-to-day life, tinnitus can be overwhelmed by the everyday noises you experience. But as hearing loss makes those background sounds quieter, tinnitus symptoms come to the front.
It could be an indication that you’re dealing with issues with your ears, either way, if you have loud noises in your ears or balance problems and vertigo. And that means (no surprise here), yes, you need to come see us for a hearing test.
Sign #7: You feel fatigued after social engagement
Perhaps you’ve always been an introvert at heart, and that’s why social situations have become totally draining. Or it may be possible that you’re not hearing as clearly as you used to.
When you leave a restaurant or a social event feeling completely drained, your hearing (or lack thereof) might be the reason why. 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 challenging situations (such as a noisy space), you might 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) might have a huge impact on when you develop hearing loss, or if you develop hearing loss at all.
So it may be an indication that the banana is changing if you experience any of these signs. Thankfully, there’s something you can do about it: come in and get evaluated! The sooner your hearing loss is identified, the sooner you’ll be able to get treatment.