Hearing loss can take many forms, and can occur suddenly, due to injuries or trauma, or gradually, due to the aging process. The experience of hearing loss may range from mild instances of not being able to hear conversations properly to extreme periods of total deafness, and can be either temporary or permanent. A single ear can be affected by hearing loss, or both ears.
There are a number of signs and symptoms associated with hearing loss, one of the most common of which is a growing inability to hear or understand conversations. You might perceive other’s speaking voices as if they were speaking very softly or are too far away to be heard properly, or their voices may appear to be muffled and indistinct. You might be able to hear people talking, but not be able to discern specific words, especially if more than one person is speaking or the conversations are in settings with a lot of background noise.
Other indications 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 more difficulty hearing men’s voices than women’s voices. Other forms of hearing problems may be indicated if you experience a persistent 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 arise so gradually that people may not even realize it. This can occasionally lead to actions or behaviors intended to hide their hearing loss from others. For instance, people attempting to hide hearing loss may ask others to repeat themselves often, are likely to avoid conversations and social interaction, pretend to have heard things they really didn’t, and over time can develop feelings of depression and isolation.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, it is time to schedule an appointment with one of our hearing specialists. They will give you a hearing test to figure out if you have experienced hearing loss, and if so, can help you to find a solution.