Hearing loss may appear in many forms, and may appear suddenly, as the result of injuries or trauma, or gradually, due to aging. The hearing loss itself may be short-term or permanent, and may vary from mild (having difficulty understanding casual conversation) to severe (complete deafness). Either a single ear can be affected by hearing loss, or both ears.
The most often noted symptom of hearing loss is gradually struggling to hear and comprehend conversations properly. People’s voices may seem to be at too low a volume (as if the speakers were far away), or sound muffled. You may be able to hear folks speaking, but be unable to differentiate specific words, especially if multiple people are speaking or the conversations are taking place in environments with a lot of background noise.
Some other signs that you may have suffered some hearing loss include having to turn up the volume on your TV or radio much higher than you did in the past, being unable 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 experience pain, tenderness, or itching in your ears, have instances of vertigo or dizziness, or hear a persistent ringing sound, these symptoms may also be indications of hearing loss.
One of the challenges with hearing loss is that it can occur so gradually that people may not even realize it. Or they may recognize it but exhibit “denial behaviors” to try to disguise or conceal their hearing loss from other people. For example, people attempting to hide hearing loss may ask others to repeat themselves often, are likely to avoid conversations and social gatherings, pretend to have heard things they really didn’t, and over time may develop feelings of depression and isolation.
If these signs and symptoms sound familiar to you, it’s time to schedule an appointment with one of our hearing specialists. They can give you a hearing test to figure out if you have indeed experienced hearing loss, and if so, can help you do something about it.