If you’re worried that your hearing is going, it can be a frightening experience. While you need answers, the last thing you really want to hear is that you might need a hearing aid or worse, that any damage you may have incurred over your life is permanent.

The worst thing you can do is ignore it. If you’re worried, then take up your courage and make an appointment to talk your problems through with a GP or hearing specialist.

Make sure you tell them if you’re experiencing any of the following:

Having to turn the TV or radio up: your volume levels are gradually creeping up, despite the fact that friends and family can hear just fine.

Having to concentrate harder to hear a person speak: this might be particularly true in a crowd or where background noise is high and distracting.

Feeling tired after following a conversation: largely because you’ve had to expel a lot of effort in keeping up and joining in a conversation that you might otherwise not have understood.

Having to ask for information to be repeated: not because you haven’t grasped the meaning but because you missed the actual words in the conversation. If you find yourself doing this a lot, it’s not them, it’s you.

Missing conversations completely: when your significant other shouts at you from another room to turn down the oven and you fail completely to hear the command, it’s not just a burnt dinner you should be concerned about.

If you’re experiencing any or all of these things, then it’s time for that check up. At a hearing assessment, you can expect the specialist to give you a physical to make sure there are no additional health complications affecting your hearing.

You will also be given a thorough examination of the internal ear, this will allow your specialist to figure out if there are any blockages in the ear canal and what might be causing them.

If you know that you do occasionally suffer from a wax build-up, then it’s well worth performing a DIY unblocking before visiting to help speed up the diagnosis. Over the counter earwax melting solutions are available, but equally as effective is warmed up olive oil placed in with a dropper. These solutions melt away wax and allow it to drain away naturally.

You may then be offered a follow-up appointment if it’s felt a medical aid might help you. There are a lot of options out there in terms of size and style so do a little research online to see what you might prefer.

After you’re fitted you’ll be able to access the clinic for further help or find information about where to repair your hearing aid, in the event of it breaking.

While it might be scary to think that your hearing is damaged forever, it doesn’t have to impact your life as much as you might think. Book your check up, get some reassurance and take back control of your hearing.

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Jamie Sanders is a freelance writer for many media outlets. She married her soulmate and writer, Dennis Sanders. They live in Boston with their two dogs.

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