Hearing Loss Symptoms

The symptoms of hearing loss vary with the type of hearing loss or the severity. Both volume and clarity of sound could get diminished.

General Symptoms of Hearing Loss:

The sense that you can hear but not comprehend is a common symptom of hearing loss. For people with any type of hearing loss, these are all excellent indicators that you may not be able to hear as well as you did previously. You might experience all or just several of these scenarios below:

  • Relatives or friends claim you turn the radio or television volume on too high
  • You struggle to comprehend speech, particularly within noisy surroundings
  • You have trouble hearing speech over the phone
  • The sense that you can hear but not comprehend
  • You are uncertain of where sound is originating from (this is known as localization)
  • You often request for people to repeat their speech
  • You rely upon a spouse, friend or family member to assist your hearing
  • You constantly keep away from social events
  • You feel tired after attending interactive events (this is known as listening fatigue)
  • You experience signs of tinnitus or ringing in your ears

Symptoms By Hearing Loss Type:

  • High-frequency: high-pitched sounds are difficult to pick up
  • Noise-notch: some high-pitched sounds are difficult to pick up
  • Mid-range: mid-range sounds are difficult to pick up
  • Low-frequency: low-pitched sounds are difficult to pick up
  • Conductive (general): hearing loss from damage to the middle or outer ear
  • Sudden: hearing loss onset takes place abruptly and rapidly
  • Flat: all pitches are difficult to pick up
  • Single-sided: just a single ear is impaired
  • Temporary noise-related: the hearing loss may cease eventually

Sensorineural Hearing Loss Symptoms

The most regular type of hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss, which is caused by damage to the delicate hair cells in the inner ear or the nerve pathways that transmit sound to your brain. Around 90% of people with hearing loss have this specific type, and this is from a broad range of causes. Volume and clarity are diminished. Sensorineural hearing loss is often slow—you do not get up suddenly, unable to hear clearly. Instead, you gradually lose your hearing capacity. Both the loudness (volume) and the clearness (clarity) of how you pick up sounds both are impaired. You can also undergo a recruitment phenomenon, making louder sounds very uncomfortable to pick up. 

For example, you once enjoyed listening to fireworks shows but now feel that the exploding sounds are too loud. Sensorineural hearing loss can impair all stretches of hearing. Some people have problems hearing both low-pitched and high-pitched sounds, whereas others might struggle with a single range. One single ear may listen with more clarity than the reverse ear. There are many ranges to consider, even from the same type of hearing loss. 

Signs of hearing loss

A "sign" is what a doctor can find out with tests or a medical examination (whereas a "symptom" is what you observe but cannot precisely measure). To find out the signs of hearing loss, a doctor will generally begin asking about symptoms you experience, then conduct a proper hearing exam to test how well you can listen to beeping sounds (termed as the pure-tone test), discern speech from noisy surroundings, or many alternate noises. Your hearing gets plotted upon the audiogram that shows the level of your hearing loss in both ears. Permanent hearing loss is irreversible and usually involves damage to the auditory nerves.