Aging and chronic exposure to loud noises are common causes of hearing loss. Other factors, such as excessive earwax, can temporarily reduce one’s hearing ability.
Hearing loss, impairment, or deafness is the total or partial inability to hear sounds.
How To Know The Symptoms Of Hearing Loss?
The symptoms may be mild, moderate, severe, or profound, with the patient having problems in an understanding speech to moderate deafness may need a hearing aid.
General symptoms of hearing loss
When friends and family say, you turn the television or radio up too loud. You struggle to understand speech, especially in noisy environments, difficulty hearing people on the phone. You feel that you can hear, but not understand, unable to locate where sound is coming from. You should consult a professional. Here are symptoms based on type and kind of hearing loss.
Hearing loss from inner ear or due to nerve damage
The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss, which is caused by damage to the delicate hair cells in the inner ear and/or the nerve pathways that deliver sound to your brain. It affects about 90% of people and has a wide range of causes.
Symptoms based on sound frequency
Sensorineural hearing loss is high-frequency hearing loss. It is one of the more common types of hearing loss. Many people who have presbycusis, an age-related hearing loss, results in the reduced ability to hear things like women and children’s voices, certain consonant sounds like s, sh, f, v, th, f, p, to understand some words. Beeping sounds on timers and microwave ovens, birds chirping or the car’s turn signal.
Trouble hearing sounds in the mid-range frequencies. Less common than high-frequency hearing loss, it is referred to as “cookie-bite” hearing loss because of its distinctive pattern on an audiogram. These sounds are neither particularly high-pitched nor low-pitched and include everyday common sounds like talking to friends or listening to music challenging. You will realize that you can easily hear things like squealing alarms or booming thuds but struggle to hear speech or music at seemingly normal volumes.
Low-frequency loss or reverse-slope is the opposite of high-frequency hearing loss. Struggling to hear people on the phone but not so much during face-to-face conversations. The inability to hear low-pitched environmental sounds such as the bass in music or thunder. A person with reverse slope hearing loss may seem unusually sensitive to high-pitched sounds, too. Sometimes, Meniere’s disease can cause this type of hearing loss in the early stages of the disease.
Conductive hearing loss symptoms
About 10% of people with hearing loss have conductive hearing loss, which means their inner ear works fine, but their outer or middle ear isn’t working normally for some reason. Most types of permanent conductive hearing loss are detected at birth soon after. The symptoms are similar to general hearing loss symptoms, just occurring at a faster rate. Any pain, pressure, or strange odour in the ears are other clues you may have a condition that causes conductive hearing loss.
Sudden hearing loss, Flat hearing, single-sided deafness and Temporary loss of hearing
In rare cases, a person can develop sudden hearing loss, usually in one ear. It may be conductive or sensorineural. In some cases, people hear a loud pop and then lose their hearing ability. The affected ear may feel stuffy or “full,” making you feel dizziness or hearing a ringing in your ear. Act fast if you experience sudden hearing loss; prompt treatment is key.
Flat hearing loss is when you struggle to hear sounds across the noise spectrum—low-pitched, normal and high-pitched compared to a person with normal hearing.
For people with severe or profound hearing loss in one ear, it’s harder to locate where the sound is coming from. They have a hard time focusing on a single source of sound in a noisy environment and may struggle with high-pitched sounds that are harder to hear.
Temporary hearing loss is often related to exposure to loud noises, such as gunfire, fireworks, concerts or exposure at work. Temporary hearing loss is 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.
Symptoms of hearing loss in children
Hearing loss may occur in newborn infants soon after birth. Some parents may be able to detect hearing loss in their child at birth.
Symptoms include delay in speech and language development. The child does not startle at the loud sound, cannot localize sound. Poor performance and behavioural problems in school. A learning disability diagnosis will help detect so.
Can I Prevent Hearing Loss?
Not all cases of hearing loss are preventable. You can’t reverse most types of hearing loss. However, with a doctor’s or a hearing specialist help, you can take steps to improve your hearing. Have regular hearing tests if you work around loud noises, swim often, or attend concerts regularly.
Avoid prolonged exposure to loud noises and music, and seek help for ear infections as they may cause permanent damage to the ear if left untreated.
Amanda Wingfield is a certified Diabetes Management Specialist who also holds an MD in Endocrinology, with certifications from ABIM and AACE. She has a decade of experience serving thousands of patients through her independent practice and has been working in the capacity of an expert diabetes consultant for the past 4 years. Ms. Wingfield is revered by her regular readers for her in-depth research and evidence-based analysis of diabetes medications, supplements, and treatments, and her highly critical style of writing.