Hearing loss has many forms – it may develop gradually (for example, as the result of aging) or all of a sudden (as the result of an accident or trauma). The hearing loss itself can be transient or permanent, and can range from mild (having difficulty understanding conversations) to severe (complete deafness). A single ear may be affected by hearing loss, or both ears.

Probably the most commonly noted symptom of hearing loss is progressively struggling to hear and comprehend conversations properly. You might perceive other people’s voices as if they were speaking very softly or are too distant to be heard properly, or their voices may appear to be muffled and indistinct. Or alternatively, you might be able to hear folks speaking but notice that you’re having difficulty differentiating individual words; this could become more pronounced when multiple people are speaking, or when you are in noisy rooms.

Other indications that you may have some hearing loss include having to turn up the volume on your TV or radio much higher than you did in the past, being unable to differentiate certain high-pitched sounds (such as ‘th’ or ‘s’) from one another, and having greater difficulty hearing women’s voices than men’s voices. If you feel pain, irritation, or itching in your ears, have periods of vertigo or dizziness, or hear a persistent buzzing or ringing sound, these symptoms can also be indications of hearing loss.

Because it generally arises gradually, many people with hearing impairment don’t realize it. This can sometimes lead to habits or behaviors intended to hide their hearing loss from others. Examples of these kinds of symptoms include having to ask people to repeat themselves often, avoiding dialogues and social situations, pretending to have heard stuff that you really didn’t, and emotions of isolation or depression.

If any of these signs and symptoms sound familiar to you, it is time to make an appointment with one of our hearing specialists. They will give you a hearing test to determine if you have experienced hearing loss, and if so, can help you do something about it.