Hearing loss comes in various forms – it may develop gradually (for example, due to aging) or suddenly (as the result of an injury or trauma). The hearing loss itself may be short-term or permanent, and may vary from mild (having trouble understanding casual conversation) to severe (total deafness). A single ear can be affected by hearing loss, or both ears.

Probably the most often reported 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 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 speaking, but not be able to distinguish specific words, particularly when multiple people are speaking or the conversations are in settings with lots of background noise.

Other common signs of hearing loss include increasing the volume on your television or radio, having more difficulty hearing women’s voices than men’s, and not being able to tell sounds like ‘th’ and ‘s’ from one another. If you experience pain, tenderness, or itching in your ears, have periods of vertigo or dizziness, or hear a persistent ringing sound, these symptoms may also be indications of hearing loss.

Because it generally arises gradually, many people with hearing impairment don’t realize it. This can occasionally lead to actions or behaviors intended to hide their hearing loss from other people. For instance, people trying to hide hearing loss may ask other people to repeat themselves frequently, are likely to avoid conversations and social interaction, pretend to have heard things they really didn’t, and over time can develop feelings of depression and isolation.

If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, it’s 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.