Hearing loss has various forms – it might occur gradually (for example, due to aging) or all of a sudden (due to an injury or trauma). The hearing loss itself may be transient or permanent, and can vary from mild (having difficulty understanding casual conversation) to severe (complete deafness). Moreover, a person might suffer a loss of hearing in a single ear or both ears.
There are also a number of signs and symptoms linked to hearing loss, one of the more common of which is a growing difficulty hearing or understanding conversations. You might experience other’s speaking voices as if they were speaking very softly or are too far away to be heard properly, or their voices may appear to be muffled and indistinct. Alternatively, you might be able to hear folks talking but discover that you’re having trouble differentiating individual words; this may become more evident when several people are speaking, or when you are in noisy rooms.
Some other indications 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, not being able to distinguish certain high-pitched sounds (such as ‘s’ or ‘th’) from one another, and having more difficulty hearing men’s voices than women’s voices. If you feel pain, irritation, or itching in your ears, have instances of vertigo or dizziness, or hear a constant ringing sound, these symptoms can also be indications of hearing loss.
Because it may arise gradually, many people with hearing loss don’t realize it. Or they may recognize it but display “denial behaviors” in an attempt to hide or conceal their hearing loss from others. Examples of these types of symptoms include asking people to repeat themselves often, avoiding discussions and social situations, acting as if you’ve heard stuff that you really didn’t, and emotions of isolation or depression.
If these symptoms sound familiar to you, it’s time to make an appointment with one of our hearing specialists. They can give you a hearing test to determine if you have indeed experienced hearing loss, and if so, can help you to do something about it.