There can be many hearing loss signs and in this article we will expand on them to help you distinguish whether you experience any of it. For adults with any kind of hearing loss, these are all good indicators that you may not be hearing as well as you used to.

You may experience all or just a few of these hearing loss signs:
  • You are told that you turn the television or radio up too loud,
  • You struggle to understand speech, especially in noisy environments,
  • You have difficulty hearing people on the phone,
  • A feeling that you can hear, but not understand,
  • You are not sure where sound is coming from, known as localisation,
  • You often ask people to repeat themselves,
  • You find yourself avoiding social situations,
  • You feel exhaustion after attending social events,
  • You notice ringing in the ears.
Symptoms by hearing loss type:
  • High-frequency – high-pitched sounds are hard to hear,
  • Noise-notch – some high-pitched sounds are hard to hear,
  • Mid-range – mid-range sounds are hard to hear,
  • Low-frequency – low-pitched sounds are hard to hear,
  • Conductive (general) – hearing loss from damage to middle or outer ear,
  • Sudden – hearing loss onset is rapid,
  • Flat – all pitches are hard to hear,
  • Single-sided – only one ear is affected,
  • Temporary noise related – the hearing loss may go away.
Hearing loss sign from inner ear or nerve damage (sensorineural)

The most common type of hearing loss sign is sensorineural hearing loss, which is caused from damage to the delicate hair cells in the inner ear and/or the nerve pathways that deliver sound to your brain. About 90% of people with hearing loss have this type, and it has a wide range of causes.

Signs of noise-notch hearing loss

Noise-notch hearing loss means you can’t hear certain high-pitched sounds very well such as children’s voices. You may still hear very high-pitched sounds such as birds or beeps. This type of hearing loss is associated with noise-induced hearing loss, especially loud gun blasts. For example, hunters who develop shooter’s ear often have a noise-notch pattern of hearing loss.

Hearing loss sign for mid-range loss or also known as cookie-bite frequency

Less common than high-frequency hearing loss, “cookie-bite” hearing loss (which gets its name from its distinctive pattern on an audiogram) is when a child or adult has trouble hearing sounds in the mid-range frequencies. These are sounds that are neither particularly high-pitched nor low-pitched. Generally, people with this kind of hearing loss will realise they can easily hear things like squealing alarms or booming thuds, yet struggle to hear speech or music at what seem normal volumes for other people.

Hearing loss sign of low-frequency loss (reverse-slope)

Reverse-slope hearing loss is essentially the opposite of high-frequency hearing loss. Symptoms include finding men’s voices harder to hear than women’s or children’s voices. You struggle to hear people on the phone but not so much during face-to-face conversations. The inability to hear environmental sounds that are low-pitched, such as the bass in music or thunder. A person with reverse slope hearing loss also might seem unusually sensitive to high-pitched sounds, too.

Hearing loss signs that occur sudden

In rare cases, a person can develop sudden hearing loss, which usually happens in one ear. It may be conductive or sensorineural. Hearing loss signs are generally very obvious – you suddenly can’t hear well out of one ear. But if you have a bad cold or ear infection, it may be hard to tell if it’s just temporary congestion or actual hearing damage from the virus or bacteria. In some cases, people hear a loud pop and then lose their hearing. The affected ear may feel stuffy, or “full,” and a person may feel dizzy or hearing ringing in your ear. It is important to seek treatment, you need to act fast if you experience sudden hearing loss.

Flat hearing loss signs

Some causes of conductive sudden hearing loss can lead to what’s known as “flat” hearing loss. This is when you struggle to hear sounds across the noise spectrum—low-pitched, normal and high-pitched. All sounds would be harder to hear compared to a person with normal hearing.

Temporary noise-related hearing loss signs

Temporary hearing loss is often related to exposure to loud noises, such as gunfire, fireworks, concerts or exposure at work. Temporary hearing loss is categorised by a temporary threshold shift (TTS), which means that you temporarily won’t hear too well. It’s often accompanied by tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. It can last for only a few hours or several days before hearing returns to normal.

The ears have a harder time recovering from TTS after each occurrence. Any regular noise exposure puts you at risk of hearing loss, including noise-notch hearing loss, linked to noise-induced hearing loss. You can avoid this by learning how to prevent hearing loss.

Signs of hearing loss

A hearing loss sign is what we at Straus Audiology can detect with testing. To look for the signs of hearing loss, we will generally start with questions about symptoms you’re experiencing, and then conduct a formal hearing test to see how well you hear beep-like sounds known as a pure-tone test, speech in noise and other sounds. Your hearing is then plotted on an audiogram that shows the extent of your hearing loss in both ears.

About Strauss Audiology
Strauss Audiology is a professional audiology business in the northern suburbs of Cape Town, offering expert, effective hearing advice that is tailored to clients’ unique hearing needs. We conduct hearing evaluations, hearing tests and vertigo assessments, and provide a range of solutions to improve and protect clients’ hearing. This includes providing hearing aids to Cape Town clients. With 16 years of experience, and with the qualifications and certifications to deliver leading hearing care, you can trust us to take care of your hearing needs.

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