Recognizing the Signs of Hearing Loss

Recognizing the Signs of Hearing Loss
Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A

Are you worried that your hearing isn’t as sharp as it once was? Have you noticed difficulty in speech recognition or hearing softer sounds in your daily life? Living with untreated hearing loss has some major consequences, including reducing your quality of life, putting a strain on close relationships, and even leading to rapid cognitive decline. If you recognize the signs of hearing loss below, take the first step toward better hearing health by scheduling a hearing test.

Struggling in Conversations

While it’s easy to blame your difficulty with communication on other people, or assume that everyone around you is speaking too softly or mumbling, the more obvious answer is that your hearing abilities may have changed.

One of the earliest signs of hearing loss is struggling to hear in conversations. Because hearing loss happens gradually, you may not realize that you haven’t heard the birds chirping in a while. What you will notice is the look of annoyance on your loved one’s face when you didn’t hear them talking to you because your back was turned, or because they called from another room.

You may often ask people to repeat themselves, but you still struggle to make out what they’ve said. You might be able to fill in the blanks, or read facial cues, but communication becomes a struggle. When you have hearing loss, your brain is working so hard just to pick up on all the speech sounds that you don’t have the processing power left to actually interpret the sounds and make sense of what’s been said.

Social Isolation

Those with hearing loss often face social isolation, as they choose to avoid interactions rather than put themselves into situations where communication is difficult. When you frequently forego meeting up with friends for dinner or avoid activities you once enjoyed, it may be due to a hearing loss. Social isolation is common among people with hearing loss, and unfortunately, researchers have noted the detrimental effects of social isolation on your health and well-being. It is one of the major risk factors for developing dementia – along with untreated hearing loss.

Turning Up the Volume

If you have hearing loss, it’s common to turn up the volume to try to help you hear. Your family might complain that the TV or radio is too loud, or that the volume on the phone is far too high. It’s tempting to reach for the remote when you can’t hear, but even cranking up the volume doesn’t always help you hear, and you may even rely on subtitles to help you enjoy your favorite shows. While you might not like to admit it, this is a clear sign of hearing loss.


Another early warning sign that’s often overlooked is tinnitus, an annoying ringing or buzzing in your ears that no one else can hear. Tinnitus is often only noticeable when you’re in a quiet place away from all other sounds, and it can affect your ability to get a good night’s sleep or concentrate on a particularly difficult task. Tinnitus and hearing loss are closely linked, so if you have tinnitus there’s a high chance you have high-frequency hearing loss as well.

Listening to Your Family

If like many people you’re suffering from presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss, changes in your hearing happen very slowly. You may not notice the day to day changes in your hearing as you learn to adapt to your new hearing range. In fact, your family will often be the first to notice your hearing loss, and point out when you can’t hear as well as you used to. If your family tells you your hearing is getting worse, take it seriously. They may be noticing something you haven’t realized yet.

Scheduling a Hearing Test

If you recognize any of these signs of hearing loss in yourself or a loved one, call us today at Professional Hearing Services to schedule a hearing test. In a hearing test, you’ll be asked listen to a series of sounds, and tell us which sounds you can hear. This will allow us to map out your hearing range and determine whether a hearing loss is present. At Professional Hearing Solutions, we’ll work with you to help you find the perfect hearing devices to address your unique hearing needs, help you strengthen relationships, keep your brain active, and improve your quality of life.

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