What are the Early Signs of Hearing Loss?

by M Caroline
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Lately, I find myself doing things that I remember my parents doing when I was a kid.

Sometimes I catch myself saying things to my kids that my Mom always used to say to me. I find myself making the same bad jokes that my Dad loved so much, and I even find myself insisting that someone eat that last slice of cake, like my Mom does.

I’ve even caught myself asking my kids to repeat themselves when they talk, just like my Dad did as his hearing got worse as he got older. I’m always asking my husband to come into the room to speak with me, since he’s so hard to hear from the other room.

My hubby thinks he’s speaking at a loud enough volume, but I’m sure that the noise is muffled because he’s too far away.

So who’s right?

Am I having some early hearing loss, or is my husband entirely too quiet? Am I just not paying enough attention when my kids chat with me, or is the problem possibly hearing-related?

I started doing a little research into signs of hearing loss to see if I’m starting to have some early hearing problems.

What are the early signs of hearing loss?

The early signs of loss of hearing include:

  • Trouble understanding conversations against background noise or in a crowd, like in a restaurant.
  • Muffled speech and other sounds.
  • Trouble hearing high pitched sounds like alarm clocks, birds, and possibly groups of screeching pre-teen girls on a sleepover. I wish I had the last one.
  • Difficulty hearing consonants.
  • Asking people to speak more clearly, slowly and loudly, or repeat what they just said.
  • Needing to turn up the volume on the radio or TV. Again, that’s not me.
  • Trouble understanding conversations over the phone or on Zoom calls.
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Hypersensitivity or pain to specific sounds. Does pain whenever I hear Muskrat Love by Captain and Tennille count?

How to know if you have hearing loss

I suspect that many people, like me, may have a few symptoms of loss of hearing.

Some may just be occasional issues, but if you’re really wondering how to know if you have hearing loss, it may be time to take a hearing test and visit your doctor.

So, what are the risks for noise related hearing loss? Are there genetic factors that put you at risk for loss of hearing? I dug a little deeper to find out.

Are you at risk for hearing loss related to loud noises?

There are genetic factors related to hearing loss, but there are also plenty of environmental factors linked to hearing loss.

These environmental factors include:

  • Exposure to some liquid chemicals like toluene
  • Some medicines that damage the ear. These are called ototoxic medicines, and they can result in loss of balance, ringing in the ears, or even hearing loss. These medicines can include antibiotics, cancer treatment drugs, and others.

How to Reduce the Risk of Noise-Related Hearing Loss

So, how can you reduce the chance that you suffer from hearing loss related to noise? Here are a few tips to start:

  • Avoid noisy places
  • Use noise reducing earmuffs, noise cancelling headphones, or earplugs to protect from loud noises.
  • Reduce the volume when using earbuds or headphones.

Does hearing loss need to be age related?

Is hearing loss only age related? No, absolutely not – hearing loss happens to people of all ages. It can be brought on by genetic factors, or come from environmental issues like exposure to loud noise.

While the stereotypical image of someone with hearing loss is a senior using a hearing aid, plenty of young people have hearing issues as well.

Hearing is such and important part of staying healthy, just as is proper nutrition, and even habits like mindfulness.

Have you had any of the symptoms of early hearing loss?

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