Most people who have hearing loss don’t just wake up one day with noticeably diminished hearing. Rather, hearing loss creeps up over time, with small incremental changes to your hearing that you may not notice at first, or just brush off because you can mostly hear everything else.
To know if you truly have hearing loss – and the extent of that hearing loss – your hearing should be tested by an experienced Doctor of Audiology. Here are five signs that you may not be hearing your best:
Your Ears Are Always Ringing
Tinnitus is when you hear ringing, whooshing or buzzing sounds which originate from within your head rather than an outside source. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 50 million people in the United States live with some degree of tinnitus every day. Tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss. If you notice a constant ringing in your ears, it’s time to get your hearing tested.
You Have Trouble Understanding Conversations in Crowds
If you have trouble understanding speech when you’re in a noisy place like a party or a restaurant, you could be experiencing one of the early signs of high-frequency hearing loss. This difficulty following conversations may lead you to avoid family get-togethers and social gatherings, even further disconnecting you from your loved ones. If you find yourself straining to hear in loud environments, it’s time to get your hearing tested.
You Can’t Distinguish Consonant Sounds
People who live with untreated hearing loss may have difficulty differentiating some consonant sounds. Sounds like Th/Sh, V/K/P, or S/F can sound muddled, leading you to misunderstand what’s being said. Words like “keep” and “peep” or “throw” and “show” will be difficult to differentiate, and could lead you to respond inappropriately in a conversation, or just assume that those around you are mumbling
You Don’t Hear Everything You Used To
Do you notice that you can’t hear birds chirping anymore? Have you been missing the sound of the wind in the trees? These sounds haven’t disappeared from the world, but if you live with untreated hearing loss, you may have noticed that you don’t hear these sounds the way you used to. High-pitched sounds are the first to go with high-frequency hearing loss. If you notice these sounds missing, it’s time to visit an experienced Doctor of Audiology.
Listening Makes You Tired
Straining to hear when you have untreated hearing loss can leave you feeling exhausted by the end of the day, or even by the end of a conversation. When your hearing is compromised, your brain has to work overtime to make sense of the sounds around you. This “listening fatigue” is common amongst people with untreated hearing loss, and can lead you to cut conversations short, leave social gatherings early, or simply avoid them altogether.
Untreated hearing loss isn’t something you just have to live with. Visit a reputable Doctor of Audiology to get your hearing tested, and determine the right course of action to get you back into the conversation.