Hearing loss may appear in many forms, and may occur either suddenly, as the result of injury or trauma, or gradually, as the result of the aging process. The hearing loss itself can be short-term or permanent, and may vary from mild (having difficulty understanding conversations) to severe (complete deafness). A single ear may be affected by hearing impairment, or both ears.
You will find a number of signs and symptoms linked to hearing loss, one of the more common of which is a growing inability to hear or understand conversations. You might experience other people’s speaking 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 might be able to hear folks speaking, but be unable to distinguish specific words, especially if multiple people are speaking or the conversations are taking place in environments with a lot of background noise.
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 distinguish 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 instances of dizziness or vertigo, or hear a persistent buzzing or ringing sound, these symptoms may also be indicators of hearing loss.
Because it generally arises gradually, many people with hearing impairment don’t realize it. Or they may notice it but display “denial behaviors” to try to disguise or conceal their hearing loss from others. For instance, people attempting to conceal hearing loss may ask others to repeat themselves often, are likely to avoid conversations and social interaction, fake having heard things they really didn’t, and over time can develop feelings of isolation and depression.
If these symptoms sound familiar to you, it is time to make an appointment with one of our hearing specialists. They can give you a hearing test to determine if you have experienced hearing loss, and if so, can help you to find a solution.