Bananas don’t taste like they once did. There are rather different varieties of bananas being grown today by banana farmers. These new bananas grow faster, are more robust, and can prosper in a wider range of climates. And they taste quite different. So how did this swap take place without us detecting it? Well, the change wasn’t a fast one. The change was so gradual you never noticed.
The same thing can occur with your ears and hearing loss. It’s not like all of a sudden your hearing is totally gone. For the majority of individuals, hearing loss develops gradually, often so slowly that you don’t really realize what’s taking place.
Early treatment can really help maintain your hearing so that’s a regrettable truth. You can take measures to safeguard your hearing if you recognize that it’s at risk. That’s why it may be worthwhile to watch for these seven signs your hearing might be waning.
You should get your hearing evaluated if you notice any of these 7 signs
Hearing loss develops slowly 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 show. Damage to your hearing (from that rock concert and other loud noises) increases over time. The earlier you deal with your hearing loss, the better off you’ll be. You don’t want to put off on this because untreated hearing loss has been linked to issues such as social isolation, depression, and dementia.
You should, uh, keep your ear to the ground for these seven indications that you might be developing hearing loss. The only way to know for sure is to get a hearing exam, but these indicators may encourage you to schedule an appointment earlier than you otherwise would have.
Sign #1: You keep turning 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 begun to mumble. But it’s more likely that you’re compensating for your increasing hearing loss by turning the volume up on your devices.
This is especially the case if your family has also constantly been telling you that the TV is too loud. They will frequently notice your hearing loss before you become aware of it.
Sign #2: You failed to hear the phone ringing (or the doorbell)
It could be a sign that you’re having hearing issues if you are constantly missing day to day sounds. A few of the most ordinary noises you may miss include:
- Someone knocking on your door or ringing the doorbell: When your best friend unexpectedly walks into your house, take into account the possibility that they did in fact knock, you just missed it.
- Timers and alarms: Did you burn dinner or sleep or sleep through the ringing of your alarm clock? It may not be because your cook timer or alarm clock is not loud enough.
- 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 important sounds while driving, like honking horns or trucks beeping while backing up, and your friends and family are becoming scared to drive with you.
Sign #3: You’re always asking people to repeat what they said
Are your most frequently used words “what?” or “pardon?”? If you’re constantly needing people to repeat what they said, it’s very, very possible it’s not 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 assessment.
Sign #4: It sounds as if everybody’s always mumbling
This one goes pretty well with #3 and we might even call it #3-A. You should know that people most likely aren’t mumbling or talking about you under their breath even if your hearing loss is making it seem that way. It’s stressful to always feel like people are mumbling about you, so it may be a relief to find out they’re actually not. Alternatively, it’s more likely that you’re just having a difficult time hearing what they’re saying.
This can be especially pronounced if you’re trying to listen to someone who has a higher pitched voice, or if you need to have a conversation in a loud space, like a restaurant.
Sign #5: Family members prompt you to take a hearing test (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 family members (particularly younger) are telling 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 advice. Perhaps you tell yourself it was just a bad day or whatever. But you could give your hearing an advantage by taking their advice.
Sign #6: Your ears are ringing or you’re experiencing balance problems
Ringing in your ears is a condition known as tinnitus. It isn’t at all unusual. There are a couple of reasons why you may experience more ringing in your ears when you’re dealing with hearing loss:
- Damage can cause both: Both hearing loss and tinnitus can be the result of damage. 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 day-to-day life. But as hearing loss makes those background sounds quieter, tinnitus symptoms come to the front.
It could be an indication that you’re experiencing issues with your ears, either way, if you have loud noises in your ears or balance issues and vertigo. And that means (no surprise here), yes, you should come see us for a hearing test.
Sign #7: You feel tired after social interactions
Maybe you’ve always been an introvert at heart, and that’s why social interactions have become totally draining. 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 affair feeling utterly drained, your hearing (or lack thereof) could be the cause. Your brain is trying to fill in the gaps that you can’t hear. This is exhausting (no matter how good your brain is), particularly over the long run. So when you’re in especially strenuous situations (like a noisy space), you may experience even more exhaustion.
Start by coming to see us
The truth is that we all experience some hearing damage in our lifetimes. If or when you develop hearing loss has a lot to do with how well you protect your ears when you’re subjected to loud sound.
So if you’ve experienced any of these signs, it’s a sign that the banana is changing. Fortunately, there’s something you can do about it: come in and get tested! You’ll be able to get treatment as soon as you are diagnosed.