The world around us is beautiful! We see bright vibrant colors, experience many pleasant smells and ofcourse hear wonderful sounds. We perceive the environment thanks to our senses. However, a problem with at least one of them can cause life changing perceptions and alter quality of life.
The ability to hear is very important, thanks to which we are in contact with the outside world, perceiving external sounds, and communicating with other people. Hearing impairment causes distraction, impaired thinking, and learning difficulties. In addition asking others to constantly repeat themselves, does not add self-confidence.
Fortunately, the loss of hearing can be easily selt with! And a positive attitude will return with it. But to seek help in time, you need to be well aware of the first symptoms.
What are the general symptoms of hearing loss?
Hearing loss is a very unpleasant problem that is diagnosed more often in Americans every year. Even newborns suffer from it! However, the likelihood of a problem increases significantly with age. Surely, you have a friend or even a close person who has some degree of hearing loss. According to statistics, more than 30 million Americans have a similar problem!
An important feature of hearing loss is its gradual development. Very often, a person is not even aware of these problems, so help is often provided at the wrong time. As a result, the problem progresses and brings both physical and psychological disorders. Difficulties arise when communicating with other people. A person with a hearing loss may isolate themselves from their community, which negatively affects life.
That is why it is very important to be able to identify the first signs of hearing loss, which tell us for sure: “You have the problem”. Our leading audiologist, Dr. Zhanneta Shapiro has extensive experience in hearing evaluations and treatment. Based on her knowledge and experience, she compiled a list of the symptoms of hearing loss. You should seek help in the following cases:
Frequent requests to repeat words, as well as frequent cases of a misunderstanding
Difficulty understanding speech, especially in noisy environments
Discomfort when communicating on the phone
The need to make the sound of the radio or television louder than other people in the room need
Feeling that others are talking indistinctly
Difficulty perceiving sounds from nature, such as birdsong or the sound of rain
The need to read lips to understand what the other person is saying
Noise in the head or ears, ringing in the ears. Other extraneous sounds
The need to strain your ears to maintain a conversation
If you notice at least 2-3 of the listed common signs in yourself, then this is important to have your hearing evaluated and obtain a baseline from your audiologist. As with other health problems, the sooner you seek help, the easier and faster you will regain lost abilities.
Hearing is a vital part of everything we do, and its absence can lead to a variety of health issues. This includes anxiety, fatigue, cardiovascular issues as well as cognitive decline. The earlier hearing loss is addressed the more likely the above-mentioned ailments can be avoided.
Some of the symptoms can be divided by hearing loss type. This will allow us to more specifically consider the various forms of a specific problem.
Symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is a problem resulting from damage to the formations of the auditory system. It develops when sensitive hair cells in the inner ear, auditory nerve, or central structures of the auditory system are damaged.
Sensorineural hearing loss is not an independent form of the disease, but rather a collective term that combines several different forms of the problem. There can be many reasons for its occurrence, but the main symptoms of hearing loss are:
Hearing impairment. Typically the audibility of high-frequency sounds deteriorate first. The perception of speech and whispering changes
Occurrence of tinnitus. Noise can be perceived as high-frequency sounds such as squeaks, ringing, hiss, and take the form of an annoying low-frequency hum. Fortunately, modern medicine has various methods and means for tinnitus treatment. The main thing is not to hide the problem and consult a doctor in time
Besides, the patient may experience the following unpleasant hearing loss symptoms:
Deterioration of coordination
Nausea, which may result in vomiting
Let us consider in more detail the symptoms of its most common forms.
What are the symptoms of High-frequency hearing loss?
This is a very common form of Sensorineural hearing loss. The problem occurs when a person develops a hearing loss in the frequency range of 2,000 to 8,000 Hz.
In this case, a person is faced with the difficulty of recognizing certain sounds, for example:
Speech of women and children, but not of adult men, whose voices tend to be in a lower range
High-frequency audio signals, such as the sound of a microwave oven
Virtually all voice and voiceless dental fricative
What does a person with high-frequency hearing loss experience? Sounds perceived in this case seem to be muffled. One gets the feeling that something seems to be heard, but it is impossible to accurately distinguish what it was.
Cookie-bite hearing loss – when to see an audiologist?
The problem is associated with the inability to hear the midrange. Cookie-bite hearing loss is less common than high-frequency problem. People generally would need things to be louder in volume in order to overcome the degree of the loss and understand speech.
Symptoms of conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs due to problems in the outer and/or middle ear. Most often conductive hearing losses can be medically treated and are not permanent. Conductive hearing loss has distinctive symptoms that should be noted.
Problems with volume of speech and other sounds around you
All sounds may seem like they are very far away
Unilateral hearing loss and a large difference in hearing between healthy and diseased ears
Tightness or pain in the ears
Inflammation and swelling of the auditory canal tissues
Changes in the perception of one’s own voice
Discharge from the ears
If you or your loved ones have similar symptoms, then urgently seek help. Do not waste time!
The symptoms of the Sudden hearing loss
Sudden hearing loss develops suddenly, over several hours, or appears upon waking. As a rule, the damage is unilateral in the initial stages and ranges from moderate to severe. What are the other symptoms?
Loss of sensation in the tissues of the ear (rare)
There is no data on the prevalence of this problem among the world’s population. But in the US, this diagnosis is made in 5-20 cases per 100,000 people. It has also been found that this condition occurs in both women and men. The average age of a patient with sudden hearing loss ranges from 40-54 years. It is vital to seek medical intervention within the first 24-48hours, typically a course of steroids is prescribed, in order to increase the chances of recovering the hearing.
Hearing loss symptoms in children
Unfortunately, children and sometimes newborns also suffer from this problem. It is vital to identify hearing problems early on so as to prevent delays in speech and language development. Luckily in the United States we Newborn Hearing Screening program. Every newborn is screened for hearing loss in the hospital prior to discharge. This has lead to early identification of hearing loss and early intervention resulting in less speech and language delays and other issues that can be associated with hearing loss.
Your child pediatrician will aslo screen your child’s hearing as they grow. History of ear infections can impact hearing as well resulting in delayed speech development. It is always important to monitor your child’s hearing, particular if there are concerns about speech and language development or lack of response to speech and environmental sounds.
What should I do if I experience such symptoms?
Most importantly, don’t panic. Of course, healthy hearing is essential for a fulfilling and happy life. Luckily, this is one scene that can be treated and managed..
Today, many testing and treatment methods restore hearing ability. The main thing is to contact an audiologist in time for help. Knowing most of the symptoms will save you from complications! The doctor will conduct the necessary tests, determine the type and degree of hearing loss, and prescribe the necessary treatment.
Hearing loss is not a sentence. Proper treatment and adherence to all recommendations will help you return to your old life. You will soon hear the voices of your loved ones!
About Dr Zhanneta Shapiro
Dr Zhanneta Shapiro received her Masters of Science from Brooklyn College in 2005 and completed her Doctorate of Audiology from Florida University in May 2008. Her graduate training was in various hospitals in the tri-state area and a residency period completed at Ear Nose and Throat Associates of New York. [ Learn More ]