Hearing loss can be both temporary and permanent, and can come on gradually or suddenly. When hearing loss is only temporary, it could be caused by an ear infection, build up of earwax, a burst eardrum or damage from a very loud noise. These cases are often treated with medication or a simple procedure, and can sometimes get better on their own. When hearing loss is permanent, this is most commonly due to ageing or exposure to loud noises over many years.
In these cases, treatment such as hearing aids or implants can help make the most of the remaining hearing.
Symptoms of hearing loss can be very subtle, and you may not notice you are experiencing it.
In many cases, other people may notice you have problems with hearing before you do.
So how do you know if you are losing your hearing? There are six main symptoms of hearing loss to be aware of:
Difficulty hearing other people clearly
If you have difficulty hearing other people clearly and often misunderstand what they say, it could be a sign of hearing loss. This is especially the case in noisy places.
Asking people to repeat themselves
If you constantly find yourself asking people to repeat themselves, it could be a sign. Take note if this happens a lot.
Turning the volume up
You could be losing your hearing if you have to listen to music or watch TV with the volume higher than other people need. Ask people you are watching TV with if they find the volume too loud.
Difficulty hearing on the phone
If you struggle to hear what people are saying on the phone, it could mean your hearing is starting to go.
Struggling to keep up with conversations
If you notice you can’t keep up with the people you are conversing with, especially if other participants in the conversation can, hearing loss could be why.
Feeling tired or stressed from listening
If you find yourself really having to concentrate while listening to work out what people are saying, it may make you feel tired or stressed.
Having to concentrate to this level could be a sign you are losing your hearing.
“See your GP if you notice any problems with your hearing so you can find out the cause and get advice on treatment,” said the NHS.