In the early stages of hearing loss, most people don’t even realize that they are having a problem. The onset is so gradual, sort of like watching grass grow, that most hearing loss goes untreated until it becomes a significant mental and physical health issue. Detecting hearing loss early is a critical element in preventing long-term and severe hearing damage. I encourage individuals to be on the safe side and get their hearing tested when they notice one or a combination of the first warning signs of hearing loss. Here are some of the most common first signs.
Asking Others to Speak Up
Although it seems quite obvious, we do not usually notice how frequently we ask people to speak up or repeat themselves until someone points it out. It is true that some people don’t speak clearly, speak softly, or mumble, but this is usually the exception rather than the rule. If you or a loved one notes that you ask others to speak up with greater frequency, it is one of the early warning signs of hearing loss.
Ringing or Buzzing in Your Ears
Ringing or buzzing in your ears is a condition known as tinnitus. It can be another symptom of early-stage hearing loss. In various cases, tinnitus results from fatigue, high blood pressure, or as a side effect of some prescriptions, but it can also be the result of a severe noise-exposure event. Sharp explosions or prolonged exposure to loud noise can cause permanent hearing damage, which presents as tinnitus.
You Don’t Get Out Much
Recent restrictions have made it so that nobody is getting out much, but if you already had a tendency to isolate from family or social gatherings, or avoiding public places because of discomfort, this is another early sign of hearing loss. Individuals suffering from hearing loss often feel exhausted from trying to keep up with conversations in environments with a lot of background noise. Rather than deal with the strain and fatigue, most just elect to stay home.
Difficulty Hearing on the Phone
We usually adapt to the difficulty of understanding what someone is saying by reading visual cues. When those cues are not present, such as during a phone call, we have to rely on pure audio alone. If phone calls are fuzzy or muffled and you simply cannot stand to talk on the phone, it is another early warning sign of hearing loss.
Difficulty Understanding Women and Children
Certain sound frequencies are the first to go when someone is experiencing the early stages of hearing loss. These are usually high pitch frequencies such as the voices of women and children. You might also notice that you turn up the volume on your television because some of the voices and sounds come through clearly and others do not.
Schedule a Hearing Test with Jacobs Audiology
Experiencing these signs does not mean that you need to start wearing hearing aids. There are a variety of causes and treatments available for treating both temporary and permanent hearing loss, but an audiologist cannot help you without an evaluation.
Even if you do not need immediate treatment, a hearing test establishes a baseline for your audiologist to use as a standard for future hearing assessments, and we can also provide preventative treatments to prevent further damage. Contact us to learn more about the early signs of hearing loss or to schedule an appointment today.