Signs of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is different for everyone.  Difficulties might be noticed in either one or both ears; while the severity will be different from one person to the next.  However, most of these signs will eventually affect peoples’ day-to-day lives and can serve as warning signs for family and friends as well.
9 signs of hearing loss - builder working
  1. An ongoing and pervasive inability to clearly hear and understand people - Asking people frequently to repeat themselves can eventually lead to frustration among those closest to you.
  2. Noticeable difficulty being able to differentiate sounds in noisy, crowded places - Described as the “din of the crowd”, someone with hearing loss will find it increasingly difficult to hear others close to them without being distracted by everything going on around them.
  3. Being overwhelmed by or hypersensitive to extremely loud and sudden noises - This can cause severe pain and an anxious or startled reaction. Such noises might include: loud music; fireworks; heavy equipment being used; amplified sound in cinemas, theaters or auditoriums.
  4. A prolonged sensation of buzzing or ringing in the ears - Mild tinnitus is annoying, but more severe cases can cause sleep issues as well as anxiety and depression.
  5. Trouble distinguishing certain sounds or consonants (e.g. p and t, s and f) during normal conversation - When listening to people converse, it may become difficult to differentiate sounds leading to confusion and embarrassment.  Often people with hearing loss will try to cover up their inability to understand usually leading to further problems and misunderstanding.
  6. Inability to hear televisions or radios unless turned way up, often leading to complaints by family or neighbours.
  7. Because of the inability to communicate effectively, people with hearing loss may frequently decline social invitations.
  8. Fatigue or tiredness at the end of the day after expending a great deal of energy to concentrate and focus - Being able to participate in conversations or even just watch a movie can lead someone with hearing loss to feel exhausted and overwhelmed.
  9. A feeling of fullness in the ear or the sensation that the ear is plugged up - Usually affecting only one ear at a time, this feeling may grow slowly or come on suddenly and can cause a great deal of pain.  

Types and Causes of Hearing Loss

Sensorineural Hearing Loss (inner ear)—This type of hearing loss is most often related to age, but can be present at birth or following an injury.  

Besides age and acute injury, these are some additional possible causes of injury to the inner ear:   
  • Excessive noise exposure – loud music, working in the construction field
  • Health-related issues - diabetes, exceedingly high fevers, tumors
  • Viral infections - meningitis, mumps, measles, rubella
  • Genetics
  • Certain medications (Ototoxicity) that may include some antibiotics, diuretics, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories
Conductive Hearing Loss (middle or outer ear)—When the ear’s ability to conduct sound is reduced, it is often the result of a blockage or buildup.  Once diagnosed, there may be a surgical or medical treatment prescribed.  Following are some of the causes of conductive hearing loss:
  • Multiple or chronic infections or fluid in the middle ear (otitis media)
  • Wax build-up
  • Abnormal bone growth in the middle ear (Otosclerosis)
  • Injury to the eardrum

Solutions and treatments

Once the type and cause of a hearing deficit has been determined, it then becomes easier to treat and may include the following:  
  • Medical treatment—From wax removal to ear tube surgery
  • Hearing aids—Electronic amplification devices
  • Assistive listening devices
  • Display systems, such as TV closed captioning
  • Cochlear Implants—Defined as a neuroprosthetic device, cochlear implants are surgically implanted and directly stimulate the auditory nerves creating a sense of sound.

Identifying a progressively worsening hearing loss can be upsetting, Some people wait years before seeking medical help. Early intervention is the best course of action. If you or a loved one is suffering from any of the above symptoms, now would be a good time to make an appointment to see an audiologist.  A hearing expert can determine the state of your hearing and prescribe the best solution to meet your specific needs.

Does a friend or family member show one or more of these signals? Or perhaps signs of hearing loss resonate with yourself? In either case, please book an appointment today with our specialist clinics for a full hearing health assessment. We look forward to hearing from you!