Hearing loss often is a progressive process that usually affects the elderly but can also be problematic for younger people. Loss of hearing may involve the outer or middle ear (conductive), inner ear (sensorineural) or a combination of the two (mixed). Diminished hearing is not always obvious in the beginning stages, and learning to recognize the symptoms of a hearing impairment can help people get the hearing care that they need sooner.
How Does Hearing Loss Occur?
There are many factors that can cause or contribute to the problem of lost hearing. Excessively loud noise from music, construction zones and traffic can affect hearing when high sound decibels damage delicate structures in the ears. According to WebMD, medications that are linked to loss of hearing in some people include aspirin, antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs. Hypertension, heart disease and other cardiovascular problems can further exacerbate loss of hearing. Meniere’s disease and diabetes have been linked to decreased hearing as well. Hearing also sometimes diminishes naturally with age. Anyone who suffers a skull fracture, eardrum perforation or another traumatic injury in or around the ears may experience hearing difficulties. In some cases, people might have trouble hearing because of excessive earwax buildup or an infection, which can usually be treated to restore hearing.
What are the Signs of Hearing Loss in Adults?
Some symptoms of diminished hearing are obvious while others start off being more subtle and worsen over time. As Mayo Clinic states, one of the key symptoms of impaired hearing in adults is the inability to hear speech and other sounds as clearly. Sounds are often more muffled and difficult to discern. Focusing on what a particular person is saying or trying to listen to other sounds is usually made even more difficult when background noise is present. Other symptoms include:
- Difficulty hearing spoken consonants
- Frequently having to ask people to repeat their words
- The need to stare at speakers to try to understand their words
- Turning up TVs and radios louder in order to hear
- A desire to avoid social settings because of hearing difficulties
- Ringing or buzzing inside ears
When is a Doctor’s Visit Advisable?
Symptoms of hearing loss that persist should be evaluated by a doctor. Anyone who experiences a sudden loss of hearing (especially in one ear) should always seek medical attention. It is also a good idea to talk to a doctor about any medications or illnesses that may lead to hearing impairments.
Our Beltone location serves people in the Dallas/Fort Worth area who want to restore their hearing. Our state-of-the-art Beltone hearing aids are designed to help people with milder or more severe forms of impaired hearing live better lives and hear the world around them more clearly. Contact us today to receive more information from one of our hearing care specialists.