Hearing loss has various forms – it might occur gradually (for example, due to aging) or all of a sudden (due to an accident or trauma). The experience of hearing loss may range from mild episodes of not hearing conversations properly to extreme periods of total deafness, and may be either temporary or permanent. Moreover, a person may experience a loss of hearing in a single ear or both ears.
The most frequently reported symptom of hearing loss is gradually struggling to hear and comprehend conversations correctly. People’s speaking voices might seem to be at too low a volume (as if the speakers were a long way away), or sound muffled (as if the speakers were speaking through a wall coming from another room). You might be able to hear folks talking, but not be able to distinguish specific words, especially if multiple people are speaking or the conversations are taking place in environments with a lot of background noise.
Other indications that you may have sustained some hearing loss include turning up the volume on your radio or television much higher than you did in the past, not being able 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 feel pain, irritation, or itching in your ears, have periods of vertigo or dizziness, or hear a constant ringing sound, these symptoms may also be indicators of hearing loss.
Because it generally arises gradually, many people with hearing loss are not aware of it. This can occasionally lead to habits or behaviors designed to hide their hearing loss from others. For example, people trying to hide hearing loss may ask others to repeat themselves often, are likely to avoid conversations and social interaction, fake having heard things they really didn’t, and over time may develop feelings of isolation and depression.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, it is time to schedule an appointment with one of our hearing specialists. We can help by starting with a hearing test to see if you do have hearing loss, and if you have, we can help figure out exactly what to do about it.