Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is very common, especially with people over 50  – about 25% of people over 50 have some level of hearing loss.

Common signs of hearing loss include having difficulty keeping up with conversations, needing those around you to repeat themselves, or perhaps hearing buzzing or ringing in your ears.

The good news is there are many ways you can improve your hearing.

As a first step, take our online hearing test or take the online test to assess whether a friend or family member has hearing loss.

Early Signs of Hearing Loss

You may not be able to hear people talking around you clearly. They may seem to be speaking too quietly or you may not be able to make out certain words and phrases.

Understanding other people’s speech against background noise or in crowds may be hard. You may have trouble working out who’s speaking to you when it’s noisy.

The effort of trying to understand may be making you feel tired or frustrated.

If you believe you may be experiencing signs of hearing loss, we can help.

More Signs of Hearing Loss

1. Other people complain noise you’re making is too loud

Whether you’re watching TV, listening to music or talking on the phone, you think the noise level is normal until other people tell you it’s too loud.

2. You can’t understand other people

You cannot hear someone properly when they are speaking to you, even though everyone else can understand them perfectly. You find you are asking people to repeat what they have said a lot.

3. You can’t hear the phone ring

You miss calls because you cannot hear the phone ring.

4. Your family or friends say you might have hearing loss

Identifying hearing problems is not easy, and your family and friends may notice changes in your behaviour before you do.

Hearing Loss Symptoms

Hearing loss may also produce certain symptoms.

Hyperacusis is caused by the brain compensating for reduced hearing by amplifying signals coming from the ears. You may feel uncomfortable or even experience pain when hearing certain volumes and frequencies of sound, or it may feel as if all sounds are sometimes far too loud.

Tinnitus can be caused by tiny sensory hair cells in the inner ear becoming damaged. You may notice a ringing or buzzing in your ears when there is no external sound that could cause this noise.

You could be suffering one of or both these symptoms. They are unpleasant, but don’t worry, counselling and hearing aids can help manage tinnitus for many people.

As a first step, book a free hearing check today. Once we have assessed your hearing, we can recommend strategies to help manage your symptoms.

Find out if you are experiencing hearing loss

If you answer ‘yes’ to at least two of the following statements, you may have some degree of hearing loss.

  • It sounds like people are mumbling when they're talking to me.
  • I ask people to repeat themselves, even when it’s quiet.
  • I get tired from trying to understand what people are saying.
  • I have difficulty hearing in restaurants or in crowds when there is a lot of background noise.
  • I find it hard to work out what direction sound is coming from.
  • I find it harder to hear women’s or children’s voices.
  • I find it difficult to hear anyone speaking who is not directly next to me, even when it’s quiet.
  • People tell me I have the television volume up too loud.
  • People tell me I speak loudly.
  • I need to lean in when I'm listening to somebody.
  • I have a family history of hearing loss.
  • I have been exposed to continuing and loud noise in my workplace.
  • I have a constant ringing in my ears.
  • I feel discomfort or pain when I hear certain sounds, especially construction equipment or other loud noises.
  • I take medication that can harm my hearing.

Are you concerned your friend or family member may be experiencing hearing loss?

It can be hard for someone experiencing hearing loss to know they have a problem. On average, it takes seven years for someone with hearing difficulties to seek help. As a result, you may notice symptoms and changes in the behaviour of loved ones before they do.

If you do need advice on starting a conversation about hearing loss, you can download our hearing loss conversation guide.