Hearing loss has various forms – it may develop gradually (for example, due to aging) or all of a sudden (as the result of an accident or trauma). The experience of hearing loss may range between mild episodes of not hearing conversations correctly to severe periods of total deafness, and can be either temporary or permanent. Either a single ear can be affected by hearing impairment, or both ears.
There are a number of signs and symptoms associated with hearing loss, one of the more common of which is a growing difficulty hearing or understanding conversations. You may perceive other people’s speaking voices as if they were speaking too softly or are too distant to be heard correctly, or their voices may appear to be muffled and indistinct. Alternatively, you might be able to hear folks talking but notice that you’re having difficulty differentiating individual words; this may become more pronounced when multiple people are speaking, or when you are in noisy locations.
Some other signs that you may have suffered some hearing loss include turning 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 greater difficulty hearing men’s voices than women’s voices. If you have pain, irritation, or itching in your ears, have periods of vertigo or dizziness, or hear a persistent ringing sound, these symptoms can also be indications of hearing loss.
One of the challenges with hearing loss is that it may appear so gradually that people are themselves not aware of it. Or they might notice it but display “denial behaviors” in an attempt to disguise or conceal their hearing loss from others. For instance, people attempting to hide hearing loss may ask other people to repeat themselves frequently, are likely to avoid conversations and social gatherings, fake having heard things they really didn’t, and over time can develop feelings of depression and isolation.
If you have encountered any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists. We can help by administering tests to see if you do have hearing loss, and if you have, we can help figure out what to do about it.