Hearing loss has many forms – it may develop gradually (for example, due to aging) or suddenly (as the result of an injury or trauma). The experience of hearing loss may range from mild instances 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 might experience a loss of hearing in a single ear or both ears.
There are also a number of symptoms linked to hearing loss, one of the most common of which is a growing inability to hear or understand conversations. People’s voices may seem to be at too low a volume or sound muffled (as if they were speaking through a wall from another room). You may be able to hear folks talking, but not be able to distinguish specific words, particularly when more than one person is speaking or the conversations are taking place in settings with a lot of background noise.
Some other indications that you may have some hearing loss include having to turn 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 forms of hearing loss may be indicated if you have a constant ringing in the ears, feel pain, tenderness or itching in the ears, and if you have instances of dizziness or vertigo.
One of the difficulties with hearing loss is that it may arise so gradually that people may not even realize it. This can sometimes lead to actions or behaviors intended to hide their hearing loss from others. For instance, people trying to conceal hearing loss may ask others to repeat themselves frequently, are likely to avoid conversations and social gatherings, fake having heard things they really didn’t, and over time may develop feelings of depression and isolation.
If any of these 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 determine what to do about it.