Hearing loss can take many forms, and can occur either suddenly, due to injuries or trauma, or over time, due to the aging process. The hearing loss itself can be transient or permanent, and can range from mild (having trouble understanding conversations) to severe (total deafness). Moreover, a person can suffer a loss of hearing in a single ear or both ears.
There are a number of symptoms associated with hearing loss, one of the more common of which is a growing inability to hear or understand conversations. You might experience other people’s voices as if they were speaking too softly or are too far away to be heard correctly, or their voices may appear to be muffled and indistinct. Or alternatively, you might be able to hear folks talking but discover that you’re having difficulty distinguishing individual words; this may become more noticeable when several people are speaking, or when you are in noisy rooms.
Other signs that you may have sustained some hearing loss include turning up the volume on your TV or radio much higher than in the past, not being able to differentiate 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 loss may be indicated if you have a persistent ringing in the ears, if you feel pain, irritation or itching in the ears, and if you experience instances of dizziness or vertigo.
Because it generally arises gradually, many people with hearing impairment don’t realize it. This can sometimes lead to actions or behaviors intended to hide their hearing loss from other people. For example, people trying to conceal hearing loss may ask others to repeat themselves often, can tend to avoid conversations and social gatherings, pretend to have heard things they really didn’t, and over time can develop feelings of isolation and depression.
If you have experienced any of these 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 what to do about it.