Hearing loss may appear in many forms, and can appear either suddenly, as the result of injuries or trauma, or gradually, due to aging. The hearing loss itself may be temporary or permanent, and can range from mild (having trouble understanding conversations) to severe (total deafness). Additionally, a person might experience a loss of hearing in either one ear or both ears.
You will find many signs and symptoms associated with hearing loss, one of the more common of which is a growing inability to hear or understand conversations. People’s speaking voices might seem to be at low volume (as if the speakers were a long way away), or sound muffled . You might be able to hear folks talking, but be unable to differentiate specific words, particularly when more than one person is speaking or the conversations are in environments with lots of background noise.
Other indications that you may have suffered some hearing loss include having to turn up the volume on your radio or television 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 women’s voices than men’s voices. Other forms of hearing loss may be indicated if you experience a persistent 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 are themselves not aware of it. Or they may recognize it but display “denial behaviors” to try to disguise or conceal their hearing loss from other people. Examples of these kinds of signs include having to ask people to repeat themselves frequently, avoiding conversations and social situations, acting as if you’ve heard stuff that you really didn’t, and emotions of depression or 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.