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Symptoms of hearing loss

June 26, 2019

When patients ask us what are the symptoms of hearing loss, they are often surprised to find that it is not as simple as everything sounding quieter.


One of the easiest symptoms of hearing loss to notice is a loss of volume in only one ear, as the other provides a point of reference, but this is not always what happens.


In fact if you suffer mild hearing loss equally in both ears, it might be difficult to notice that you are not hearing things at full volume.


Because of this, the more obvious symptoms of hearing loss in many cases are the other effects that stand out more to the individual.


Not all hearing loss is permanent


First of all, there are many different reasons for hearing loss and not all of them are permanent.


They can range from exposure to loud noises, to the natural ageing process, to something as simple as excess wax build-up.


Hearing loss is common as you get older, but it can happen at any age, and it's always worth getting an expert diagnosis of the cause - especially as it may be completely curable.


Early effects of hearing loss


Some of the early effects of hearing loss are social in nature, for example:


  • Difficulty following conversations, especially on the phone.
  • Tendency to watch TV with the volume higher or subtitles on.
  • Hard to tell what people are saying in noisy places e.g. pubs, stadiums, shopping centres or anywhere outdoors.


If you feel like listening to people is tiring or requires a lot of concentration, or if you often have to ask people to repeat what they just said, it could be that you are not hearing clearly due to permanent or temporary hearing loss.


Physical symptoms of hearing loss


The physical symptoms of hearing loss can be more directly uncomfortable or even painful, such as:


  • Earache and other ear pain.
  • Discomfort in the ear canal due to feeling wet or plugged.
  • Dizziness or vertigo due to a problem with inner ear balance.
  • 'Phantom' noises e.g. tinnitus, ringing, audible throbbing.


Hearing loss in one ear may lead to pain or discomfort only on one side - and you may realise you have been subconsciously favouring your 'good' ear for some time.


There are many treatment options, from removing excess wax, to treating inner ear infections, to hearing aids to correct permanent hearing loss.


But it's important to seek professional advice for hearing loss as soon as you notice it, so that you can restore both ears to fully working order as quickly as possible.


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