How Do I Know if I Have Hearing Loss?

There are many different types of hearing loss, and even more ways in which the condition might manifest. There's such variance, in fact, that two people suffering from the same kind of hearing impairment may experience it very differently. With that said, there are some common signs you should look out for, both in yourself and in your loved ones.

Given how complex an organ the ears are, it should come as no surprise that the symptoms of hearing impairment aren't always obvious. This is especially true if the hearing loss stems from age-related dine or prolonged exposure to high levels of noise. As such, there's a good chance that other people will notice it before the person actually experiencing the impairment.

Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss

The general signs of emerging hearing loss may include: 

  • Tinnitus. Ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking, or other persistent phantom noise in the ears. 
  • High volume. Friends and loved ones notice that the hearing-impaired individual has difficulty hearing media if it's not at unusually high levels.
  • Speech problems. Someone suffering from hearing impairment may frequently ask people to repeat themselves in conversation. This tends to be even more pronounced in public settings, which tend to have a great deal of background noise.
  • Phone issues. Someone struggling with hearing impairment may have difficulty speaking on the phone or else may avoid using the phone altogether.
  • Comprehension trouble. A hearing-impaired individual may still be able to hear sounds, but they might have trouble comprehending what those sounds are or what they mean.
  • Fatigue. Particularly after social events, someone with a hearing impairment might experience exhaustion due to constantly straining to hear what people are saying. 
  • Localization. Someone who is hearing impaired may have trouble figuring out where a particular sound originated. 
  • Infection. Throbbing of the ear, a feeling of fullness, or fluid discharge from the ear are all typical signs of an ear infection, which is often accompanied by temporary hearing loss. In severe cases, an infection may cause permanent damage.
  • Muffled or distorted sound. A hearing-impaired individual may find sounds at specific frequencies are muffled or have difficulty making them out. Most commonly, it's higher-pitched sounds—birdsong, children's voices, and so on. In some rare cases, deeper and lower sounds like a bass guitar or a dog barking may seem muted.
  • Delayed development. Children suffering from hearing loss may not react to sound in the way one might expect, or they may show delayed capacity for language and speech or behavioral problems in the classroom.

Know the Signs Of Hearing Loss

Someone presenting with hearing loss may experience all of the traits described above, or they may simply display a few. These symptoms will typically grow worse the longer one goes without receiving treatment. Although permanent hearing loss generally isn't reversible or curable, it is treatable.

And the sooner you discover it, the sooner you can address it—ideally before it starts impacting your life.

Feel free to schedule a free hearing exam and consultation at a hearing center nearest you.