Hearing loss has various forms – it might develop gradually (for example, as the result of aging) or all of a sudden (due to an injury or trauma). The hearing loss itself can be short-term or permanent, and can vary from mild (having difficulty understanding casual conversation) to severe (total deafness). On top of that, a person can experience a loss of hearing in either a single ear or both ears.
There are also a number of signs and symptoms associated with hearing loss, one of the most common of which is a growing difficulty hearing or understanding conversations. People’s voices might seem to be at too low a volume (as if the speakers were far away), or sound muffled . Or alternatively, you might be able to hear folks speaking but notice that you are having trouble differentiating individual words; this could become more evident when multiple people are speaking, or when you are in noisy locations.
Some other signs that you may have suffered some hearing loss include turning up the volume on your TV or radio much higher than you did in the past, not being able to differentiate certain high-pitched sounds (such as ‘s’ or ‘th’) from one another, and having greater difficulty hearing men’s voices than women’s voices. If you feel pain, tenderness, or itching in your ears, have periods of vertigo or dizziness, or hear a persistent buzzing or ringing sound, these symptoms can also be indicators of hearing loss.
Because it can occur gradually, many people with hearing loss are not aware of it. Or they may notice it but display “denial behaviors” to try to hide or conceal their hearing loss from others. For instance, people trying to conceal hearing loss may ask other people to repeat themselves often, are likely to avoid conversations and social gatherings, fake having heard things they really didn’t, and over time may develop feelings of isolation and depression.
If you have encountered any of these symptoms, make an appointment with one of our specialists. They will give you a hearing test to figure out whether you have experienced hearing loss, and if so, can help you find a solution.