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Enhanced Hearing Center - Springfield, MO


Your last family dinner was discouraging. Not because of any intra-family drama (though there’s always a little bit of that). The issue was the noise, which was making it difficult to hear anything. So you weren’t able to have very much meaningful conversation with any of your family members. It was irritating. For the most part, you blame the acoustics. But you can’t totally discount the possibility that maybe your hearing is starting to go bad.

It isn’t typically advisable to attempt to self diagnose hearing loss because it generally isn’t possible. But there are some early warning signs you should keep your eye on. If some of these warning signs show up, it’s most likely time to have your hearing checked.

Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs

Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is noticeable. But you may be dealing with some degree of hearing loss if you find yourself noticing some of these signs.

Here are a few of the warning signs of hearing loss:

  • High pitched sounds are difficult to hear. Things like a ringing doorbell or a whistling teapot frequently go unnoticed for several minutes or more. Early hearing loss is typically most noticeable in distinct (and frequently high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
  • You have a tough time making out interactions in a noisy or crowded place. In the “family dinner” illustration above, this exact thing happened and it’s definitely an early warning sign.
  • There’s a ringing in your ears: Ringing in your ears is called tinnitus (and, actually, tinnitus can be other sounds too: screeching, buzzing, humming, thumping, and so on). Tinnitus isn’t always associated with hearing issues, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is most likely in order.
  • Phone calls suddenly seem muffled and difficult to comprehend: These days, because of texting, we use the phone much less than we used to. But if you’re having problems comprehending the phone calls you do receive (even with the volume cranked all the way up), you might be dealing with another red flag for your hearing.
  • You often need people to repeat what they said. If you find yourself repeatedly asking people to talk louder, repeat what they said, or slow down when they talk, this is especially true. You may not even recognize you’re making such frequent requests, but it can definitely be an early sign of diminishing hearing.
  • Someone makes you realize that you keep turning the volume up. Maybe you keep turning up the volume on your mobile device. Maybe it’s your TV that’s at max volume. Usually, you’re not the one that observes the loud volume, it’s your kids, maybe your neighbor, or your friends.
  • You find it’s tough to comprehend certain words. This red flag often appears because consonants are starting to sound similar, or, at least, becoming harder to differentiate. The th- and sh- sounds are very commonly muffled. Sometimes, it’s the s- and f-sounds or p- and t-sounds that become conflated.
  • Certain sounds seem so loud that they’re intolerable. It’s one of the more uncommon early warning signs related to loss of hearing, but hyperacusis is common enough that you may find yourself experiencing its symptoms. If particular sounds become unbearably loud (especially if the issue doesn’t resolve itself in short order), that could be an early hearing loss symptom.
  • It’s Time to Get a Hearing Exam

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

    In general, any single one of these early warning signs could be evidence that you’re developing some kind of hearing impairment. A hearing examination will be able to tell what level of impairment, if any, is present. And then you’ll be better prepared to find the correct treatment.

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

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