Your ability to hear is so important to how you understand and navigate the world. Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to tell if something isn’t quite right with your hearing. After all, hearing loss can happen gradually, and it might not always be obvious to you if you have simply been getting used to it over time.
The good news is that there are some main signs and symptoms to look out for that might notify you that it’s a good time to think about having your hearing checked. Even if you don’t think you’re losing your hearing and don’t think any of these signs apply to you, getting your hearing checked on a regular basis, just as you’d have a checkup for your eyes or your teeth, is a good part of your overall healthcare maintenance.
You Turn the Volume Up
One of the earliest signs that you might be experiencing problems with your hearing is that you are often turning up the volume on the TV, your phone, or radio. If you usually have the volume on the top end of the scale or have even had comments from other people on how high the volume levels are when watching a TV show or on the phone, then this is a sign that it might be worth having your hearing tested.
In today’s digital world, turning noises up has become easier than ever, and you might end up unconsciously compensating for sounds you’re having problems with hearing by simply turning the volume up – and you might not even notice how loud you have it until somebody else points it out. A hearing aid specialist can arrange for a hearing test and fit you with hearing aids if needed.
You Have Tinnitus
Ringing in your ears is a condition known as tinnitus. It can be quite disruptive and might sound like a static buzz or more of a tonal ring or high-frequency sound. Tinnitus will usually occur after you have been exposed to loud noise and happens whenever damage to the hearing occurs. When tinnitus is persistent, this can be uncomfortable, annoying and distracting to deal with. It can often occur continuously after the initial damage has been done. Having a hearing test is a good idea if you have been dealing with tinnitus, as not only will it check for signs of loss of hearing that might be causing this condition, but you’ll also be able to get access to strategies and programs that might help you find some relief.
You’re Often Asking People to Repeat Themselves
A sure sign that you might need to go and have a hearing test carried out is if you are always asking people to repeat themselves when speaking. While all of us from time to time might mishear somebody or need them to speak up, if you find that this is happening often, or in almost all the conversations that you have, then it might be worth getting your hearing checked out by a professional. Often, people who are affected by hearing loss will be able to hear words, but they sound unclear or muffled. This might lead to a perception that people are mumbling when they are not.
You’re Having Trouble Following Conversations
When the hearing ability is impaired, following conversations between several different people, or conversations in noisy environments can often be quite overwhelming. Having trouble hearing can cause difficulty in both locating and comprehending voices. Along with this, if you are in a noisy or crowded environment, this can further contribute to confusion and make conversations with others even harder to navigate.
If you have found that you are avoiding social situations more often than you normally would, due to this frustration and confusion, then it might be time to consider getting a hearing test carried out. Hearing loss that is not being treated can often be a huge risk factor for social isolation and loneliness, which can increase the risk of depression and other mental health conditions, along with increasing your risk of some serious physical health complaints.
You Get Vertigo
Vertigo is the word used to describe disorientation and dizziness. It’s often caused by heights, but if you are having these dizzy sensations when you’re firmly on the ground, then having your ears inspected for hearing loss is a good place to start. A lot of our balance is due to the fluid in the inner ear, which is also the location of delicate hair cells that are crucial for sound perception. The inner ear links our balance and hearing, so if your balance is off when it shouldn’t be, this might be a sign that something isn’t quite right with your hearing too.
You Struggle to Hear Children’s Voices
If you tend to struggle more often when you are communicating with children or grandchildren, then it might be a sign to book a hearing test. Losing the highest and lowest frequencies of the hearing range can often be some of the first signs of hearing loss. This can make hearing children’s voices more difficult as they tend to be more high-pitched compared to adults. If you’ve noticed that you are struggling to hear or understand children when they speak, but don’t have this problem when you are speaking to adults, it might be related to high frequency sound hearing loss.
You Struggle to Tell Where Sounds Come From
The ability to locate a sound’s source is an important aspect of how we interpret the sounds around us. The way that we are able to determine the location of sounds is due to the subtle time delay between each ear perceiving the sound. Instinctively, our brain will triangulate the sound based on the delay, helping us figure out where it’s coming from. However, it can be harder to do this if one of the ears cannot or is struggling to hear the noise.
While hearing loss is often associated with older adults, it can happen at any age. A hearing test is a good idea if you have noticed any of the above symptoms.