Hearing loss has many forms – it might occur gradually (for example, due to aging) or suddenly (as the result of an injury or trauma). The experience of hearing loss may range from mild episodes of not being able to hear conversations properly to extreme periods of total deafness, and can be either permanent or temporary. A single ear can be affected by hearing loss, or both ears.
The most frequently reported symptom of hearing loss is progressively becoming unable to hear and understand conversations properly. You may perceive other people’s voices as if they were speaking too softly or are too distant to be heard properly, or their voices may seem to be muffled and indistinct. You might be able to hear folks speaking, but not be able to differentiate specific words, particularly when more than one person is speaking or the conversations are taking place in environments with a lot of background noise.
Other usual symptoms of hearing loss include having to increase the volume on your TV or radio, having a harder time hearing men’s voices than women’s, and the inability to tell sounds like ‘s’ and ‘th’ from one another. Other types of hearing loss may be indicated if you have a constant ringing in the ears, if you feel pain, tenderness or itching in the ears, and if you experience episodes of dizziness or vertigo.
One of the problems with hearing loss is that it can occur so gradually that people are themselves not aware of it. Or they might notice it but display “denial behaviors” to try to disguise or conceal their hearing loss from other people. Examples of these kinds of signs include having to ask people to repeat themselves often, avoiding discussions and social situations, pretending to have heard stuff that you really didn’t, and emotions of isolation or depression.
If these symptoms sound familiar to you, it is time to schedule an appointment with one of our hearing specialists. They will give you a hearing test to figure out whether you have experienced hearing loss, and if so, can help you to do something about it.