Hearing loss may appear in many forms, and can occur either suddenly, as the result of injuries or trauma, or gradually, as the result of the aging process. The hearing loss itself may be short-term or permanent, and may range from mild (having trouble understanding casual conversation) to severe (complete deafness). Additionally, a person might suffer a loss of hearing in either one ear or both ears.
There are also many symptoms associated with hearing loss, one of the most common of which is a growing difficulty hearing or understanding conversations. People’s voices may seem to be at too low a volume (as if the speakers were far away), or sound muffled . You might be able to hear people talking, but not be able to discern specific words, especially if more than one person is speaking or the conversations are taking place in settings with a lot of background noise.
Some other signs that you may have some hearing loss include having to turn up the volume on your radio or television 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 have pain, tenderness, or itching in your ears, have periods of vertigo or dizziness, or hear a constant buzzing or ringing sound, these symptoms can also be indicators of hearing loss.
Because it can occur gradually, many people with hearing impairment are not aware of it. This can occasionally lead to habits or behaviors designed to hide their hearing loss from other people. Examples of these kinds of signs include asking people to repeat themselves frequently, avoiding conversations and social situations, acting as if you’ve heard things that you really didn’t, and feelings of depression or isolation.
If you have encountered any of these signs or symptoms, make 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 exactly what to do about it.