Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

Man carrying freshly harvested bananas on his back.

Bananas taste a lot different then they did in the past. That’s because today’s banana farmers grow a very different type of banana then they did in the past. Today’s banana can develop successfully in a wide variety of climates, are more robust, and can grow faster. They don’t taste the same either. So how did this change occur without us detecting it? Well, the reality is that it happened slowly, over time. The change was so gradual you never noticed.

Hearing loss can occur in the same way. It’s not like you get up one day and can’t hear anything. In most circumstances of hearing loss, it goes unobserved because it progresses so slowly.

That’s regrettable because early treatment can help maintain your hearing. You can take steps to protect your hearing if you recognize that it’s at risk. That’s why it might be significant to watch for these seven signs your hearing could be waning.

You should have your hearing evaluated if you experience any of these 7 signs

Hearing loss occurs gradually and over time, but it’s not always well understood. It’s not like you’ll be totally unable to hear the day after you went to that big rock concert. Damage to your hearing (from that rock concert and other loud noises) builds up over time. The earlier you treat your hearing loss, the better off you’ll be. Neglected hearing loss has been connected to an increased danger of issues like dementia, social solitude, and depression, so it isn’t something you should mess around with.

You should, uh, watch out for these seven signs that you may be developing hearing loss. The only way to know for certain is to get a hearing exam, but these signs may encourage you to make an appointment earlier than you normally would have.

Sign #1: You’re constantly cranking the volume up

Do you find yourself constantly reaching for the volume controls? Sure, possibly it’s just that all of your favorite actors and artists have started mumbling, or that the sound mixing on TV shows is drastically different than it used to be. But it’s also possible (if not probable) that you’re hearing is slowly going, 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 constantly been telling you that the TV is too loud. They will frequently notice your hearing loss before you notice it.

Sign #2: You failed to hear the doorbell (or a phone call)

If you’re continuously missing some day to day sounds, that might be a sign of trouble with your ears. A few of the most common sounds you may miss include:

  • Your doorbell (or someone knocking on the door): You thought your friend unexpectedly walked into your house but you in fact missed him knocking.
  • Alarms and timers: Did you overcook 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? You’re more likely to miss text messages than phone calls since no one makes calls these days.

If your family and friends have stated that they’re kind of afraid of driving with you because you’re missing so many common sounds (from honking horns to the beeping of a truck backing up), that could be an indication that it’s time for a hearing test.

Sign #3: You’re constantly needing people to repeat what they said

Are your most frequently used words “what?” or “pardon?”? It’s likely that it’s an issue with your hearing that’s causing you to need people to repeat themselves when they talk to you. If people do repeat themselves and you still don’t hear them this is especially relevant. Looks like a hearing test is in order.

Sign #4: It sounds like everybody’s always mumbling

You could also call this sign #3-A, since they go rather well together. If it sounds as if everyone around you is constantly mumbling or talking under their breath, the reality is… well, they likely aren’t. It’s stressful to always think people are mumbling about you, so it may be a relief to find out they’re actually not. Instead, it’s more likely that you’re just having a hard time hearing what they’re saying.

This can be particularly pronounced if you’re trying to listen to somebody who has a higher pitched voice, or if you have to have a conversation in a noisy space, such as a restaurant.

Sign #5: Loved ones keep recommending you have your hearing checked

You most likely have a rather close relationship with your family and friends. And some of them probably have healthy hearing. If your members of your family (especially younger) are informing you that something is wrong with your hearing, it’s a good plan to listen to them (no pun intended).

It’s easy to understand that you would want to rationalize away this advice. Possibly you tell yourself it was just a bad day or whatever. But taking their advice could preserve the health of your hearing.

Sign #6: Your ears are ringing or you’re experiencing balance problems

When you’re experiencing ringing in your ears, you’re dealing with a condition called tinnitus. It’s really common. When you have hearing loss, your tinnitus can become severe for a couple of reasons:

  • Both can be caused by damage: Both hearing loss and tinnitus can be caused by damage. So you’re more likely to experience tinnitus and hearing loss the more damaged your hearing is.
  • Hearing loss can make tinnitus more obvious: In your typical day-to-day life, tinnitus can be overpowered by the everyday noises you experience. But as those everyday noises recede to the background (due to hearing loss), the tinnitus becomes comparatively louder and significantly more noticeable.

In either case, if you’re going through loud ringing, or even dizziness and vertigo, it could be a sign that something is going on in your ears. And that means (no shock here), yes, you should come see us for an exam.

Sign #7: You feel fatigued after social engagement

Perhaps you’ve always been an introvert at heart, and that’s why social interactions have grown totally exhausting. Or it might be possible that you’re not hearing as well as you once did.

Your hearing could be the cause when you feel wiped out after leaving a restaurant or social event. 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 exhausted. So you might experience even more fatigue when you’re in an especially noisy setting.

Start by coming to see us

Honestly, hearing damage is normal to everybody to some level. If or when you develop hearing loss has a lot to do with how well you protect your ears when you’re exposed to loud sound.

So if you’ve experienced any of these signs, it’s a sign that the banana is changing. Happily, you can take matters into your own hands and contact us for an appointment. You’ll be able to get treatment as soon as you are diagnosed.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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