As a hearing aid practitioner, it’s a question I get asked frequently: what are the signs and causes of hearing loss? Although symptoms can vary from person to person, the most common ones are:
- Needing to turn up the volume on electronic devices such as televisions, phones, or radios in order to better hear the dialogue/conversation
- Asking others to speak more clearly or loudly
- Difficulty understanding/comprehending words or misinterpreting conversations, especially in situations with a lot of background noise
- Sounds and speech seem muffled or muted
- Avoiding some social situations or conversations
Hearing loss can be caused by:
- Buildup of earwax within the ear canal can occur gradually, preventing sound from being conducted to the inner ear. With the removal of the buildup, hearing can be restored.
- Inner ear damage due to exposure to loud noises, or the effects of aging.
- Ruptured ear drum as a result of loud noise (such as those in occupational or recreational environments), puncture of the ear drum, infection, or extreme changes in pressure.
- Infection in the outer or middle ear.
- Abnormal bone growth or tumours in the outer or middle ear.
- Some medications.
- Some illnesses that cause a high fever, such as meningitis.
A hearing test can help determine the level of hearing loss you are experiencing. If you are experiencing the sudden onset of hearing loss due to accident, illness, or exposure to loud noises, please consult your physician or ENT (Ear/Nose/Throat) specialist as soon as possible.