Hearing loss has various forms – it might develop gradually (for example, due to aging) or suddenly (as the result of an injury or trauma). Hearing loss may range from mild instances of not being able to hear conversations properly to severe periods of being unable to hear at all, and can be either temporary or permanent. A single ear can be affected by hearing impairment, or both ears.
There are also many symptoms linked to hearing loss, one of the most common of which is a growing difficulty hearing or understanding conversations. People's speaking voices might seem to be at low volume or sound muffled . Alternatively, you might be able to hear people talking but notice that you are having difficulty distinguishing individual words; this may become more noticeable when multiple people are speaking simultaneously, or when you are in noisy rooms.
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 greater difficulty hearing men's voices than women's voices. Other types of hearing loss may be indicated if you notice a persistent ringing or humming in the ears, if you feel pain, irritation or itching in the ears, and if you have episodes of dizziness or vertigo.
One of the challenges with hearing loss is that it can occur so gradually that people are themselves not aware of it. Or they may notice it but exhibit "denial behaviors" to try to disguise or conceal their hearing loss from other people. Examples of these types of signs include having to ask people to repeat themselves often, avoiding conversations and social situations, acting as if you've heard stuff that you really didn't, and emotions of depression or isolation.
If these symptoms sound familiar to you, it is time to schedule an appointment with one of our hearing specialists. They can give you a hearing test to figure out if you have experienced hearing loss, and if so, can help you to do something about it.