Signs of Hearing Loss
The signs of hearing loss can be subtle and emerge slowly, or they can be significant and come on suddenly. Either way, there are common indications. You should suspect hearing loss if you experience any of the signs below. You might have hearing loss if you…
Feel like you can hear people but cannot understand them.
Have difficulty following conversations involving more than 2 people.
Think that other people sound muffled or like they’re mumbling.
Have difficulty hearing in noisy situations, like conferences, restaurants, malls, or crowded
Have trouble hearing children and women.
Have your TV or radio turned up to a high volume.
Answer or respond inappropriately in conversations.
Have ringing in your ears.
Read lips ,watch people’s faces intently when they speak to you.
Feel stressed out from straining to hear what others are saying.
Feel annoyed at other people because you can’t hear or understand them.
Feel embarrassed to meet new people or from misunderstanding what others are saying.
Feel nervous about trying to hear and understand.
Withdraw from social situations that you once enjoyed because of difficulty hearing.
Have a family history of hearing loss.
Take medications that can harm the hearing system (ototoxic drugs).
Have diabetes, heart, circulation or thyroid problems.
Have been exposed to very loud sounds over a long period of time or single exposure to explosive noise.
Hearing Loss Can be Classified into Two Categories:
- Conductive Hearing Loss – Occurs when sound waves are disrupted before reaching the inner ear. Problems such as earwax, ruptured ear drum, fluid behind the ear drum, or in rare instances, a benign tumor (cholesteatoma) may cause this type of hearing loss. Many times surgery designed to repair the problem can improve conductive hearing loss.
- Sensorineural Hearing Loss – Occurs when damage to the inner ear prevents the accurate transmission of sound to the brain. Often this is caused by the effects of noise over a prolonged time; many times at work such as heavy equipment, saws, etc. Other causes include heredity where the hearing loss tends to run in families but may skip generations. With this type of hearing loss patients often report that they can hear others speaking but have trouble understanding the words. This particularly occurs in noisy environments where there is excessive background noise. This type of hearing loss responds well to a hearing aid that amplifies sound to the inner ear.
If you feel that you have hearing loss the first step is in treatment is a simple test; a hearing test.