Hearing loss can take many forms, and can appear suddenly, as the result of injury or trauma, or gradually, due to aging. The hearing loss itself may be short-term or permanent, and may range from mild (having difficulty understanding casual conversation) to severe (complete deafness). Also, a person can suffer a loss of hearing in either one ear or both ears.
Probably the most commonly reported symptom of hearing loss is progressively struggling to hear and understand conversations properly. You might perceive other people’s speaking voices as if they were speaking very softly or are too distant to be heard properly, or their voices may seem to be muffled and indistinct. Or alternatively, you might be able to hear people talking but notice that you are having trouble distinguishing individual words; this could become more noticeable when several people are speaking simultaneously, or when you are in busy rooms.
Other usual symptoms of hearing loss include increasing the volume on your television or radio, having more difficulty hearing women’s voices than men’s, and being unable to differentiate sounds like ‘th’ and ‘s’ from one another. Other types of hearing loss may be indicated if you experience a constant ringing in the ears, feel pain, irritation or itching in the ears, and if you experience episodes of vertigo or dizziness.
One of the challenges with hearing loss is that it may arise 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 others. For instance, people trying to conceal hearing loss may ask other people to repeat themselves often, can tend to avoid conversations and social gatherings, pretend to have heard things they really didn’t, and over time can develop feelings of isolation and depression.
If these signs and symptoms sound familiar to you, it’s time to make an appointment with one of our hearing specialists. They can give you a hearing test to figure out whether you have indeed experienced hearing loss, and if so, can help you find a solution.