Hearing loss can take many forms, and may appear suddenly, as the result of injuries or trauma, or gradually, due to aging. The hearing loss itself may be transient or permanent, and may range from mild (having difficulty understanding conversations) to severe (complete deafness). Either a single ear may be affected by hearing loss, or both ears.
Probably the most commonly reported symptom of hearing loss is progressively becoming unable to hear and comprehend conversations correctly. You may experience other people’s voices as if they were speaking very softly or are too far away to be heard correctly, or their voices may appear to be muffled and indistinct. You might be able to hear folks speaking, but not be able to distinguish specific words, particularly when more than one person is speaking or the conversations are taking place in environments with lots of background noise.
Other indications that you may have sustained some hearing loss include turning up the volume on your TV or radio much higher than you did in the past, not being able to differentiate certain high-pitched sounds (such as ‘th’ or ‘s’) from one another, and having more difficulty hearing women’s voices than men’s voices. If you feel pain, irritation, or itching in your ears, have periods of vertigo or dizziness, or hear a constant ringing sound, these symptoms can also be indicators of hearing loss.
One of the problems with hearing loss is that it may arise so gradually that people are themselves not aware of it. Or they might recognize it but exhibit “denial behaviors” in an attempt to disguise or conceal their hearing loss from other people. Examples of these kinds of signs include having to ask people to repeat themselves frequently, avoiding conversations and social situations, pretending to have heard things that you really didn’t, and feelings of isolation or depression.
If you have encountered any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists. They will give you a hearing test to determine if you have indeed experienced hearing loss, and if so, can help you do something about it.