Losing the quality of your hearing can be a challenging experience, but there are ways to identify and treat hearing loss. From knowing the symptoms to seeking treatment, here is what you need to know if you think you have hearing loss.
How Do I Know If I Have Hearing Loss?
The number and type of hearing loss symptoms vary from person to person, but in general, they include:
Difficulty Hearing People’s Speech
“Some of the early signals of hearing loss are if you notice you are struggling to hear clearly over the phone or in a loud environment, or if you are asking people to repeat themselves,” Leslie P. Soiles, AuD, Chief Audiologist at HearingLife, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “You may also misunderstand what people say frequently,” Soiles says.
Ringing in the Ears
Hearing loss signs are not just a lack of sound—sometimes a symptom can be hearing a specific sound. “A ringing in the ear can also be a subtle early sign,” Soiles says.
Fatigue From Listening
Signs of hearing loss don’t have to be focused on just the ears. “With hearing loss, it takes extra effort to listen and extra cognitive processing to piece together what is being said,” Carolyn Smaka, AuD, Editor-in-Chief of Audiology Online, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “This leads to feeling tired and fatigued at the end of the day or after a long conversation or event that requires listening,” Smaka says.
Hearing Loss Test
If you’re experiencing signs of hearing loss, your first treatment step will typically be to get a hearing loss test from an expert. According to Smaka, a hearing test usually includes the following:
- An audiologist or healthcare professional who specializes in hearing disorders will check your ear canals and eardrums with an ear light.
- You will usually be tested in a soundproof booth or sound-treated room.
- You will listen to sounds through various types of headphones and indicate what you can and cannot hear.
- Depending on the findings, you may undergo further testing of the middle and inner ear functions.
Treatment for Hearing Loss
Whether you are looking for a quick or long-term solution, there are different treatments available for hearing loss based on the cause and severity of your symptoms.
“One option is wax removal if the problem comes from impacted wax in the ear canal,” Stelios Dokianakis, AuD, an audiologist at Holland Doctors of Audiology, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
“Hearing aids (for nerve-type hearing losses), where the sound is digitally processed for the needed hearing correction and amplified, are another option,” Dokianakis says.
The function and design of hearing aids have improved dramatically in recent years. With improved noise management, Bluetooth compatibility, and a smaller, sleeker design, hearing aids are now easier to adapt to and use in your daily life.
According to Erin Holman, AuD, an audiologist at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, cochlear implants can also treat hearing loss. Cochlear implants are inserted surgically into the ears and are usually recommended for people with inner ear damage.
Hearing Loss Can be Managed and Treated.
The earlier you address the symptoms of hearing loss, the more likely you are to avoid irreversible damage. Get the answers you need to start treatment today.