Hearing loss comes in various forms – it may occur gradually (for example, as the result of aging) or suddenly (as the result of an accident or trauma). The hearing loss itself may be short-term 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.
There are also a number of signs and symptoms associated with hearing loss, one of the more common of which is a growing inability to hear or understand conversations. You may perceive other’s speaking 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 are having trouble differentiating individual words; this may become more noticeable when several people are speaking simultaneously, or when you are in busy locations.
Some other signs that you may have some hearing loss include turning up the volume on your TV or radio much higher than you did in the past, not being able to distinguish certain high-pitched sounds (such as ‘th’ or ‘s’) from one another, and having more difficulty hearing women’s voices than men’s voices. If you feel pain, irritation, or itching in your ears, have instances of vertigo or dizziness, or hear a constant buzzing or ringing sound, these symptoms can also be indicators of hearing loss.
One of the problems with hearing loss is that it may arise 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 others. For instance, people attempting to hide hearing loss may ask other people 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 depression and isolation.
If you have encountered any of these symptoms, make 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.