How can I recognize hearing problems?

Hearing problems rarely cause discomfort or pain, and because the hearing loss onset is often gradual, it’s common to adapt to hearing loss without realizing it. If you think you might be experiencing hearing loss, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I often ask people to repeat themselves?
  2. Do I have trouble following conversations with more than two people?
  3. Do I have difficulty hearing what is said unless facing the speaker?
  4. Do I struggle to hear in crowded places like restaurants, malls and meeting rooms?
  5. Do I have a hard time hearing women or children?
  6. Do I prefer the TV or radio volume louder than others?
  7. Do I experience ringing or buzzing in the ears?
  8. Do I think other people are mumbling or slurring their words?

If you answered yes to several of these questions, chances are you might be suffering from hearing loss.

Hearing loss symptoms fall into three main categories: social, emotional and medical.

Social symptoms

How often do you or your family member…

  • Require frequent repetition in order to understand speech?
  • Have difficulty following conversations with more than two people?
  • Think other people’s voices sound muffled?
  • Have difficulty hearing in noisy situations?
  • Have trouble hearing children and women?
  • Turn the TV or radio to high volume?
  • Answer or respond inappropriately in conversations?
  • Experience ringing in your/their ears?
  • Read lips or depend on other people’s facial expressions during conversations?

Emotional symptoms

How often do you…

  • Feel stressed from straining to hear what others are saying?
  • Feel annoyed at people because you can’t hear or understand them?
  • Feel embarrassed to meet new people because you may misunderstand what they’re saying?
  • Feel nervous about trying to hear or understand?
  • Withdraw from social situations that you once enjoyed because of difficulty hearing?

Medical symptoms

Do you…

  • Have a family history of hearing loss?
  • Take medications that may have an effect on hearing loss?
  • Have diabetes, heart, circulation or thyroid problems?

Have you…

  • Been exposed to very loud sounds over a long period?
  • Experienced a single exposure to explosive noise?

The average time between the onset of hearing loss and getting help is five to seven years. Don’t wait to get help.