Hearing loss may appear in many forms, and may occur either suddenly, due to injury or trauma, or gradually, due to the aging process. Hearing loss may range from mild instances of not hearing conversations correctly to extreme periods of being unable to hear at all, and can be either temporary or permanent. A single ear may be affected by hearing loss, or both ears.
Probably the most often noted symptom of hearing loss is gradually struggling to hear and understand conversations properly. 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. You might be able to hear people speaking, but not be able to distinguish 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 sustained some hearing loss include turning up the volume on your radio or television 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. Other forms of hearing loss may be indicated if you experience a constant ringing in the ears, if you feel pain, tenderness or itching in the ears, and if you experience episodes of dizziness or vertigo.
One of the problems with hearing loss is that it may appear so gradually that people are themselves not aware of it. Or they might notice it but exhibit “denial behaviors” to try to hide or conceal their hearing loss from other people. Examples of these kinds of symptoms include having to ask people to repeat themselves frequently, avoiding dialogues and social situations, acting as if you’ve heard things that you really didn’t, and feelings of depression or isolation.
If any of these signs and symptoms sound familiar to you, it is time to make 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 figure out exactly what to do about it.