Hearing loss comes in many forms – it might develop gradually (for example, due to aging) or all of a sudden (due to an accident or trauma). The hearing loss itself may be temporary or permanent, and may vary from mild (having trouble understanding conversations) to severe (total deafness). Moreover, a person may experience a loss of hearing in either a single ear or both ears.
There are a number of signs and symptoms linked to hearing loss, one of the more common of which is a growing difficulty hearing or understanding conversations. People’s voices may seem to be at too low a volume (as if the speakers were far away), or sound muffled (as if the speakers were speaking through a wall from another room). You might be able to hear people speaking, but not be able to distinguish specific words, especially if more than one person is speaking or the conversations are in environments with lots of background noise.
Other signs that you may have sustained some hearing loss include turning up the volume on your TV or radio much higher than you did in the past, being unable to distinguish certain high-pitched sounds (such as ‘th’ or ‘s’) from one another, and having more difficulty hearing women’s voices than men’s voices. If you have pain, tenderness, or itching in your ears, have periods of vertigo or dizziness, or hear a persistent buzzing or ringing sound, these symptoms may also be indicators of hearing loss.
One of the difficulties with hearing loss is that it may arise so gradually that people may not even realize it. Or they might notice it but display “denial behaviors” to try to hide or conceal their hearing loss from other people. Examples of these kinds of symptoms include asking people to repeat themselves often, avoiding conversations and social situations, acting as if you’ve heard things that you really didn’t, and emotions of depression or isolation.
If any of these signs and symptoms sound familiar to you, it is time to schedule an appointment with one of our hearing specialists. We can help by administering tests to see if you do have hearing loss, and if you have, we can help determine what to do about it.