Hearing loss may appear in many forms, and may occur suddenly, due to injury or trauma, or gradually, due to aging. Hearing loss may range between mild instances of not being able to hear conversations correctly to severe periods of being unable to hear at all, and can be either temporary or permanent. Additionally, a person might experience a loss of hearing in either one ear or both ears.
The most frequently reported symptom of hearing loss is progressively struggling to hear and understand conversations properly. You may experience other’s voices as if they were speaking too softly or are too far away to be heard correctly, or their voices may seem to be muffled and indistinct. You may be able to hear folks speaking, but not be able to discern specific words, particularly when more than one person is speaking or the conversations are taking place in settings with a lot of background noise.
Other indications that you may have suffered some hearing loss include turning up the volume on your TV or radio much higher than you did in the past, being unable to distinguish certain high-pitched sounds (such as ‘s’ or ‘th’) from one another, and having greater difficulty hearing men’s voices than women’s voices. Other types of hearing loss may be indicated if you have a persistent ringing or humming in the ears, if you feel pain, irritation or itching in the ears, and if you have episodes of dizziness or vertigo.
Because it may arise gradually, many people with hearing loss don’t realize it. Or they might notice it but display “denial behaviors” in an attempt to hide or conceal their hearing loss from others. For instance, people trying to hide hearing loss may ask others to repeat themselves often, can tend to avoid conversations and social gatherings, fake having heard things they really didn’t, and over time may develop feelings of isolation and depression.
If any of these signs and symptoms sound familiar to you, it is time to schedule an appointment with one of our hearing 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.