Common Signs and Symptoms 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.

Socially, individuals with hearing loss may:

  • require frequent repetition
  • have difficulty following conversations involving more than two people
  • think that other people sound muffled or mumble
  • have difficulty hearing in noisy situations, like conferences, restaurants, malls, or crowded meeting rooms
  • have trouble hearing children and women
  • keep the TV or radio turned up to a high volume
  • answer or respond inappropriately in conversations
  • have ringing in their ears
  • read lips or more intently watch people’s faces when in conversation

Emotionally, individuals with hearing loss may:

  • feel stressed from straining to hear what others are saying
  • feel annoyed at others because they can’t hear or understand them
  • feel embarrassed when meeting new people or after misunderstanding what others are saying
  • feel nervous about trying to hear and understand
  • withdraw from social situations that they once enjoyed

Medically, individuals with hearing loss may:

  • 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 or suffered a single exposure to explosive noise

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