Like many other ailments in life, hearing loss is not always easily recognizable – especially by the one experiencing it. Hearing loss often happens gradually, which means it’s usually our loved ones who notice a change first.
So, how do you know when you’re losing your hearing?
While helping local families stay connected through better hearing since 1950, we’ve heard every sign and symptom in the book – but here are the most common first signs that might help you identify whether you or a loved one is losing your hearing.
What Are The First Signs Of Hearing Loss?
The first signs of hearing loss might not seem out of place to you if you’re experiencing them, but they are almost instantly noticed by others in the home.
It’s little things like:
- Asking people to repeat themselves, maybe more than once.
- Turning up the TV, radio, or music – louder than normal and possibly enough to bother others.
Because these two signs can frustrate those around you, their reactions can cause you to withdraw and be less inclined to interact with them, so withdrawal is another sign of losing your hearing.
A loved one with a hearing loss will stop asking questions, sit alone, and not talk in social settings because they can’t hear clearly enough to understand.
If you see any of these three signs of hearing loss in a loved one, encourage them to get a hearing test.
Are There Any Sensations Of Losing Your Hearing?
There are usually no sensations with a general hearing loss, although a sudden hearing loss can sometimes cause pain or an unusual or uncomfortable sensation.
Sometimes you will hear ringing and think it’s tinnitus, which can be a sign of losing your hearing – you should have this checked.
If you feel any pain or discomfort, it could indicate something serious is going on that needs immediate medical attention. You’ll need to come see us so we can have a look, do a hearing test, and send your doctor a copy of the hearing test so he or she will refer you to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor.
It must be done this way because Ontario law requires a referral to see a specialist. But if you’re in significant pain, don’t wait and go straight to your emergency room.
Is Hearing Loss Sudden Or Gradual?
Hearing loss will either be gradual or sudden.
Sudden hearing loss can happen from just one loud event, such as being too close to loud fireworks, or it could happen as a side effect of a virus. The sudden hearing loss can happen in one or both ears, and we’ll usually refer you on to an ENT doctor to get a closer look at your auditory system and brain for this.
Gradual hearing loss is more common, and for a lot of people, it’s part of their aging process, but some people start losing their hearing at an early age.
Even though you might think your hearing loss is sudden, it’s likely been gradual and only now is it bad enough for you to notice. That’s why getting regular hearing tests is so valuable – because we can measure your hearing level each year and get a good idea of when it starts getting worse.
Is Hearing Loss Just Age Related?
Hearing loss can happen at any time. And sadly, it’s no longer just a result of aging. It’s becoming an “everybody” problem.
For younger people, a hearing loss could be the result of:
- Heritage – runs in the family
- Some form of viral disease
- Noise exposure, which is a big problem – at work, concerts, sporting events, hunting, earbuds, or headphones.
A lot of people work in very loud, noisy places, such as in a giant warehouse or in construction, and if they’re not wearing proper ear protection, they can lose their hearing quite quickly.
Businesses and entertainment organizers are packing more and more people into smaller spaces and turning everything up. Even sporting events are getting excessively loud now. All this contributes to our seeing younger people with a hearing loss.
Hunting can be a big one, too. Some locals rent a place for a few months in the summer and do nothing but hunt, and they should be wearing hearing protection all the time, but they don’t.
So, wear your protection if you can, no matter how young you are.
What To Do If You Suspect You’re Losing Your Hearing
The first thing you should do if you think you or a loved one might be losing their hearing is to come in and have it checked.
We’ll do a comprehensive hearing assessment to find out exactly what’s going on and what level of hearing loss you have, if any. (Sometimes hearing gets muffled by earwax and is fixed with a good cleanout.)
Book your comprehensive hearing assessment at the location nearest you, and we’ll get you in and give you the results immediately after, along with our recommendations for how to treat any hearing loss we might find.
We’re happy to answer any questions at all about your hearing, too – even if you don’t want to come in just yet. Contact us at one of our locations to talk to our hearing professionals. We’re looking forward to talking with you about making your hearing the best it can be.