Bananas taste much different then they used to. That’s because modern banana farmers grow an exceptionally different variety of banana then they used to. These new bananas develop faster, are more robust, and can thrive in a wider range of climates. And they taste very different. So how did this swap happen without us noticing? Well, the change wasn’t a rapid one. The change was so slow you never noticed.
Hearing loss can happen in a similar way. It isn’t like you get up one day and can’t hear a thing. For the majority of people, hearing loss advances slowly, frequently so slowly that you don’t really realize what’s taking place.
That’s regrettable because early intervention can help maintain your hearing. You can take steps to safeguard your hearing if you recognize that it’s in danger. So it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for these seven signs of diminishing hearing.
7 indications you should get a hearing exam
Hearing loss isn’t always thoroughly understood as it happens slowly over time. It isn’t as if you’ll go to a loud rock concert and the next day find yourself totally incapable of hearing. Repetitive exposure to loud sound over a long period of time gradually produces recognizable hearing loss. The sooner 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 like social isolation, depression, and dementia.
These seven indicators are what you should be watching out for. A hearing exam is the only way to know, but maybe these warning signs will prompt you to take some early action.
Sign #1: You’re constantly turning the volume up
Do you find yourself continuously reaching for the volume controls? Perhaps they’re mixing the audio 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 increasing the volume of your favorite TV show or music to compensate.
This is especially the situation if your family has also regularly been telling you that the TV is too loud. They can usually recognize hearing issues in you faster than you can.
Sign #2: You failed to hear the doorbell (or a phone call)
If you’re regularly missing some everyday sounds, that might be an indication of trouble with your ears. Here are a few common sounds you might be missing:
- Somebody knocking on your door or ringing the doorbell: You thought your friend just walked into your house but you in fact missed his knocks.
- Timers and alarms: Did you burn dinner or sleep or sleep through your alarm clock? It might not be because your cook timer or alarm clock is not loud enough.
- Your phone: Text messages coming to you but you’re missing them? No one makes phone 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 family and friends are becoming afraid to drive with you.
Sign #3: You keep needing people to repeat what they said
Are your most frequently used words “what?” or “pardon?”? If you’re always 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). This is especially true if people do repeat what they said and you still can’t hear what they’re saying. Seems like a hearing test is needed.
Sign #4: It sounds like everybody’s always mumbling
You could also call this sign #3-A, since they go rather well together. You should realize that people most likely aren’t mumbling or talking about you under their breath even if your hearing loss is making it feel that way. It’s stressful to always feel like people are mumbling about you, so it might be a comfort to learn they’re actually not. The reality is that you’re simply not hearing them due to your hearing loss.
If you’re trying to talk to someone in a noisy setting or with someone who has a high pitched voice this can be particularly relevant.
Sign #5: Loved ones keep recommending you get your hearing tested
You probably have a pretty close relationship with your family and friends. And some of them most likely have healthy hearing. If your family members (particularly younger) are telling you that something is wrong with your hearing, it’s a smart idea to listen to them (no pun intended).
It’s easy to understand that you would want to rationalize away this proposal. Maybe you feel like they just caught you on a bad day or something. But you could do your hearing a favor by heeding their advice.
Sign #6: Your ears are ringing or you’re experiencing balance problems
When you have ringing in your ears, you’re dealing with a condition called tinnitus. It’s extremely common. When you’re dealing with hearing loss, your tinnitus can become severe for a couple of reasons:
- Both can be triggered by damage: Both hearing loss and tinnitus can be caused by 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: In your ordinary day-to-day life, tinnitus can be overpowered by the everyday noises you encounter. But as those everyday noises fade to the background (as a result of hearing loss), the tinnitus becomes comparatively louder and substantially more noticeable.
It could be a sign that you’re dealing with problems with your ears, either way, if you have loud noises in your ears or balance problems and vertigo. And that means (no shock here), yes, you should come see us for a hearing test.
Sign #7: Socializing leaves you feeling fatigued
Perhaps the reason why social interactions have become so tiring is because you’ve always been an introvert. Or perhaps, and just hear us out here (again with the puns), your hearing isn’t what it used to be.
When you leave a restaurant or a social event feeling totally drained, your hearing (or lack thereof) may be the reason why. When there are interruptions in what you hear, your brain works really hard to fill in those holes. This extra effort by your brain can leave you feeling depleted. So you might experience even more exhaustion when you’re in a particularly noisy setting.
Start by coming to see us
Honestly, hearing damage is common to everybody to some degree. If or when you develop hearing loss has a lot to do with how well you safeguard your ears when you’re exposed to loud noise.
So if you’ve experienced any of these signs, it’s an indication 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.