Hearing loss may appear in many forms, and may appear suddenly, due to injury or trauma, or over time, as the result of aging. The experience of hearing loss may range from mild episodes of not hearing conversations properly to extreme periods of total deafness, and can be either temporary or permanent. Either a single ear can be affected by hearing loss, or both ears.
Probably the most commonly reported symptom of hearing loss is progressively becoming unable to hear and comprehend conversations properly. People’s speaking voices might seem to be at too low a volume (as if the speakers were a long way away), or sound muffled . Or alternatively, you might be able to hear people talking but notice that you’re having trouble differentiating individual words; this could become more pronounced when multiple people are speaking simultaneously, or when you are in busy rooms.
Other signs that you may have some hearing loss include having to turn up the volume on your radio or television much higher than in the past, not being able to differentiate certain high-pitched sounds (such as ‘th’ or ‘s’) from one another, and having more difficulty hearing women’s voices than men’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 vertigo or dizziness.
Because it may arise gradually, many people with hearing impairment are not aware of it. Or they may recognize it but exhibit “denial behaviors” in an attempt to hide or conceal their hearing loss from other people. Examples of these types of symptoms include having to ask people to repeat themselves often, avoiding conversations and social situations, acting as if you’ve heard things that you really didn’t, and emotions of isolation or depression.
If you have encountered any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists. They can give you a hearing test to figure out whether you have experienced hearing loss, and if so, can help you to do something about it.