Hearing loss comes in various forms – it might occur gradually (for example, due to aging) or all of a sudden (as the result of an accident or trauma). Hearing loss may range between mild episodes of not hearing conversations properly to severe periods of being unable to hear at all, and can be either permanent or temporary. Also, a person can suffer a loss of hearing in a single ear or both ears.
Probably the most commonly reported symptom of hearing loss is gradually struggling to hear and comprehend conversations properly. You may perceive other’s speaking voices as if they were speaking very softly or are too distant to be heard correctly, or their voices may appear to be muffled and indistinct. Or alternatively, you might be able to hear folks talking but notice that you are having difficulty differentiating individual words; this could become more evident when multiple people are speaking simultaneously, or when you are in noisy rooms.
Other signs that you may have suffered some hearing loss include having to turn up the volume on your TV or radio much higher than in the past, being unable to differentiate 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 forms of hearing loss may be indicated if you have a persistent ringing or humming in the ears, feel pain, irritation or itching in the ears, and if you experience episodes of dizziness or vertigo.
Because it generally arises gradually, many people with hearing loss don’t realize it. Or they might recognize it but exhibit “denial behaviors” to try to disguise or conceal their hearing loss from others. For example, people trying to hide 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 depression and isolation.
If any of these signs and 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 figure out exactly what to do about it.