If you’re having trouble keeping up with conversations or you’re struggling with tinnitus, you may be thinking about picking up the phone and making an appointment with an audiologist. Seeking professional advice can be incredibly beneficial for your general health and wellbeing, as well as your hearing. Hearing loss tends to be progressive, so seeking help early is often the best course of action. If you’re not sure whether or not to make that call, here are four signs that you need to see an audiologist.

1. Asking people to repeat themselves

Have you noticed that you’re starting to miss what people are saying or are you finding that you’re constantly asking friends, colleagues or clients to repeat themselves? If you’re struggling to hear people when they’re talking to you, it’s a good idea to book an appointment with an audiologist. There may be a simple reason, for example, an infection or a buildup of earwax in the ear canal. Nevertheless, finding it difficult to keep up with conversations is often one of the first noticeable signs of hearing loss.

2. Pain in the ear

Have you developed pain in your ear? Has the pain grown worse or does it come and go? There are various causes of ear pain, including infections and impacted earwax. If you suspect that earwax may be an issue, don’t attempt to clean your ears using cotton swabs, as this can push the earwax even further into the ear canal. Instead, make an appointment with your audiologist. Your audiologist will conduct an examination and some basic tests to determine the cause of pain and find a solution.

3. Turning up the TV or radio

Are you always turning up the volume on the TV or radio? Are the volume settings much higher than they used to be? If you’re straining to hear conversations on the television or you’re always adjusting the settings on a personal music player or speakers at home, this may indicate that your hearing is deteriorating. It’s very common for people to experience hearing loss as they age, but young people can also develop problems with their hearing. If you’re worried about your hearing or you’ve noticed changes recently, organize a consultation. If you do have signs of hearing loss, it may be possible to find an effective solution, such as a hearing aid, which will enable you to hear again.

4. Persistent tinnitus

Most of us experience tinnitus after a night out at a club or a concert, but if you have persistent ringing, buzzing or humming noises in your ear, it’s best to see an audiologist. It’s not normal to hear a continual noise, which isn’t actually related to external factors or the environment. Tinnitus isn’t likely to cause complex health problems, but it can be distressing and make it difficult to get on with day to day life. Tinnitus can also affect your hearing. If you’re getting bouts of tinnitus on a regular basis or you can’t seem to escape internal humming or ringing noises, now is the time to arrange an appointment.

If you’ve got issues with your ears, it’s always wise to seek expert advice from an audiologist.