What are the signs of hearing loss?

Signs & Symptoms

Here are some signs that you may have a hearing loss:
  • Difficulty hearing people in noisy environments such as a restaurant, shopping mall, in cars, or at the movie theater
  • Trouble distinguishing the consonant sounds in words
  • Muffling of speech or it seems like more people “mumble”
  • Family, friends, or colleagues often need to repeat themselves when speaking with you
  • You have trouble distinguishing what people say when they are not facing you or are further away, such as a meeting or across the room
  • You have trouble following conversations
  • Needing to turn up the volume of the television or radio
  • You have ringing, buzzing, or hissing sounds in your ears
  • Withdrawal from conversations or avoidance of situations where you know you will struggle to hear clearly

Long-term impacts of untreated hearing loss:

  • People with untreated hearing loss (people with hearing loss who do not wear hearing aids) experience a decreased quality of life. 
  • Untreated hearing loss has been shown to cause sadness, depression, anxiety, increased cognitive decline, paranoia, and poor social relationships. 
  • People with untreated hearing loss may have a difficult time in their careers—often earning thousands of dollars less than their hearing peers. 

Treating hearing loss with hearing aids has been shown to prevent or reduce these effects. It’s very common for people who wear hearing aids to say “I don’t know why I waited so long to get them.”

Hearing Evaluation

Hearing loss often goes unnoticed.

Family members and close friends will often notice the symptoms of hearing loss more than the individual with this loss.

Most people don’t notice their own hearing loss and wait too long to get help. Children and teenagers seldom complain about the symptoms of hearing loss. Adults may lose their hearing so gradually they do not realize it is happening. With some types of hearing loss, you may not even be aware of the loss, but it can be detected with a hearing test.