Hearing loss comes in many forms – it might develop gradually (for example, as the result of aging) or all of a sudden (as the result of an injury or trauma). The hearing loss itself can be temporary or permanent, and may vary from mild (having difficulty understanding casual conversation) to severe (complete deafness). A single ear can be affected by hearing loss, or both ears.
The most often reported symptom of hearing loss is progressively struggling to hear and understand conversations properly. You may experience other’s voices as if they were speaking too softly or are too distant to be heard properly, or their voices may seem to be muffled and indistinct. You may be able to hear folks talking, but be unable to differentiate specific words, especially if multiple people are speaking or the conversations are taking place in environments with lots of background noise.
Some other indications that you may have sustained 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 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 problems may be indicated if you experience a constant ringing in the ears, if you feel pain, irritation or itching in the ears, and if you experience episodes of dizziness or vertigo.
One of the difficulties with hearing loss is that it may appear so gradually that people may not even realize it. Or they may recognize it but display “denial behaviors” in an attempt to hide or conceal their hearing loss from other people. Examples of these types of symptoms include asking people to repeat themselves often, avoiding dialogues and social situations, pretending to have heard things that you really didn’t, and feelings of isolation or depression.
If you have experienced any of these signs or 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 determine exactly what to do about it.