Hearing loss has 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 can be short-term or permanent, and may range from mild (having trouble understanding conversations) to severe (complete deafness). A single ear can be affected by hearing loss, or both ears.
There are many signs and symptoms associated with hearing loss, one of the most common of which is a growing inability to hear or understand conversations. People’s voices may seem to be at low volume (as if the speakers were far away), or sound muffled (as if the speakers were speaking through a wall coming from another room). Alternatively, you might be able to hear folks speaking but notice that you’re having trouble differentiating individual words; this may become more evident when multiple people are speaking simultaneously, or when you are in noisy locations.
Other common signs of hearing loss include having to increase the volume on your television or radio, having a harder time hearing men’s voices than women’s, and the inability to differentiate sounds like ‘s’ and ‘th’ from one another. If you have pain, irritation, or itching in your ears, have instances 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 impairment are not aware of it. Or they may recognize it but display “denial behaviors” in an attempt to hide or conceal their hearing loss from others. Examples of these types of signs include having to ask people to repeat themselves frequently, avoiding dialogues and social situations, pretending to have heard stuff that you really didn’t, and emotions of depression or isolation.
If you have experienced any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with one of our 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 what to do about it.