Man holding earHearing loss symptoms can be sneaky, so you may not notice you’ve lost your hearing until you’ve suffered significant hearing damage. Here are some signs of hearing loss.

Ringing in Your Ears

Tinnitus is one of the earliest signs of hearing loss. It’s caused by damage to the tiny hair cells in your ears that convert sound waves into electrical signals for your brain. This condition is characterized by a persistent ringing, buzzing, humming or whooshing sound that only you perceive. It’s often apparent in quiet environments, but you may also experience it in noisy places as your hearing loss progresses.

Trouble Following Conversations

Do you regularly ask others to repeat themselves, speak up or talk slowly? Is it difficult to follow conversations in noisy places like restaurants?

If you answered yes to those questions, you might have hearing loss. Healthy ears filter out low-pitched background sounds such as traffic and chatter. However, hearing loss makes it difficult to process speech and eliminate auditory distractions simultaneously.

High-frequency hearing is usually the first type of hearing loss you’ll experience. So, you may struggle to understand women and children or mix up consonant sounds like “ch” and “sh.”

Turning Up the TV

Cranking up the volume on your TV is a common symptom of hearing loss. You may turn up the sound so often that you don’t realize it’s become a problem.

Do your loved ones comment on the volume of the television? Do they ask you to turn it down? Your preferred volume is likely too loud for other viewers.

Struggling with Phone Calls

It’s not unusual to dread talking on the phone if you have hearing loss. Mobile phones and landlines can distort speech even if you don’t have hearing loss. You’re only receiving audio in one ear and don’t’ have the benefit of reading lips and facial expressions, so you may find yourself struggling to understand the conversation.

Changes in Memory

Hearing loss affects your ability to communicate, so you may begin to withdraw from social settings. That can lead to isolation, increasing your risk of depression and anxiety. Your brain won’t receive as much stimulation as it needs to stay active, so you could start to notice cognitive issues.

Hearing also contributes heavily to short-term memory formation. You’re receiving a limited amount of auditory input when you live with untreated hearing loss, which affects your ability to recall sensory information and establish memories.

Balance Issues

Have you noticed you’re bumping into things or struggling to maintain your balance more often? That could be a result of your hearing loss.

Your inner ear structures have two jobs: to help you hear and regulate your balance. The semicircular canals in your ears contain fluid that shifts when you turn your head. Hearing also improves your special awareness.

Hearing loss affects your ability to localize sounds and stay aware of changing environmental factors. It’s also a safety risk because you might miss important sounds like emergency sirens, fire alarms or phone calls.

Schedule Your Hearing Test

Completing a comprehensive hearing evaluation will help you understand your type and degree of hearing loss so you can receive the proper treatment. Come to Audiology Services of Marin if you need a hearing test near Greenbrae, California. Call 415-461-9703 or contact us online to schedule your appointment.