Signs and Symptoms
Hearing loss can be mild or severe, and it can get worse over time if the cause is long or repeated exposure to loud noise. Many people are not even aware that they have noise-induced hearing loss until the hearing loss that sets in with age amplifies the symptoms. However, even mild cases of noise-induced hearing loss can be detected with a hearing test.
Some people experience what seems like temporary hearing loss, but the symptoms disappear within 48 hours. Just because the symptoms disappear, however, doesn’t mean you’ve avoided long-term damage to your hearing. There may be residual hearing loss that you aren’t aware of until much later.
There are several questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you might be experiencing hearing loss. If you answer yes to three or more of these questions, you may want to consult an otolaryngologist or audiologist for a hearing evaluation. These questions include:
- Do sounds seem distorted or muffled?
- Do you have a problem hearing over the telephone?
- Do you have trouble following the conversation when two or more people are talking at the same time?
- Do people complain that you turn the TV volume up too high?
- Do you have to strain to understand conversation?
- Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy background?
- Do you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves?
- Do many people you talk to seem to mumble or not speak clearly?
- Do you misunderstand what others are saying and respond inappropriately?
- Do you have trouble understanding the speech of women and children?, and
- Do people get annoyed because you misunderstand what they say?
Other hearing-related reasons to call a healthcare provider include:
- Hearing problems interfere with your lifestyle
- Hearing problems become worse or do not go away
- Hearing is worse in one ear than the other
- Experiencing sudden, severe hearing loss or ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus
- Developing ear pain, along with hearing problems
- Experiencing spinning sensations or vertigo, and
- Suffering from headaches, weakness, or numbness anywhere in your body that is associated with tinnitus, hearing loss, or vertigo