Warning Signs You Need a Hearing Test

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

Your last family dinner was discouraging. Not because of any intra-family drama (though there’s always a bit of that). No, the source of the frustration was simple: it was boisterous, and you couldn’t hear a thing. So you weren’t able to have very much meaningful conversation with any of your family members. The whole experience was incredibly aggravating. You feel like the room’s acoustics played a big part. But you’re also willing to admit that your hearing may be starting to wane.

It can be very 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 develop, it’s probably time to have your hearing checked.

Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs

Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is obvious. But you could be going through some degree of hearing loss if you find yourself detecting some of these signs.

Here are some of the warning signs of hearing loss:

  • You find it’s hard to understand certain 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 often need people to repeat what they said. If you find yourself repeatedly asking people to speak up, repeat themselves, or slow down when they talk, this is especially true. Sometimes, you may not even notice how frequently this is occurring and you might miss this warning sign.
  • You have a hard time hearing conversations in a noisy or crowded place. In the “family dinner” example above, this exact thing occurred and it’s certainly an early warning sign.
  • Someone notices that the volume on your media devices gets louder and louder. Maybe you keep turning the volume up on your mobile phone. Maybe it’s your TV that’s at full volume. Usually, it’s a friend, neighbor, or a family member that makes you aware of the escalating volumes.
  • Phone calls suddenly seem muffled and hard to understand: People do a lot of texting these days, so you might not take as many phone calls as you once did. But if you have the volume cranked all the way up on your phone and you’re still having difficulty hearing calls, it’s probably an early warning of hearing loss.
  • There’s a ringing in your ears: This ringing, which can also be the sound of thumping, screeching, buzzing, or other sounds, is technically named tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t always associated with hearing issues, but it is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing exam is most likely in order.
  • High pitched sounds are difficult to hear. Things like a ringing doorbell or a whistling teapot frequently go undetected for several minutes or more. Early hearing loss is normally most recognizable in distinct (and frequently high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
  • You find that certain sounds become unbearably loud. This early warning sign is less prevalent, but hyperacusis is common enough that you might find yourself encountering its symptoms. It can be an early sign of hearing loss if certain sounds seem really loud particularly if it lasts for an extended period of time.
  • Next Up: Take a Examination

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

    Broadly speaking, even one of these early warning signs could be an indication that you’re developing some type of hearing impairment. A hearing assessment will be able to tell what level of impairment, if any, exists. And then you’ll be better prepared to get the right treatment.

    This will make your next family get together a lot easier and more fun.

    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.