What is Hearing Loss?

Millions of people around the world have hearing loss. It often comes on gradually or is caused by repeated exposure to loud noises. Any decrease in hearing can cause disruptions in daily communications, negatively impact social and mental health, and lead to comorbidities that drastically lower quality of life.

There are many reasons why we lose our hearing, but the most common are prolonged exposure to noise and the aging process. Other causes include ear infections, head injuries, and certain medications. The good news is you are not alone and you can do something about it.

Signs of Hearing Loss

By age 65, most of us will experience some degree of hearing loss, and that change can be so gradual that it is hard to notice. In the absence of an event triggering sudden hearing loss, be on the lookout for the following indications that you or someone you know may not be hearing at full capacity:

  • Needing people to repeat what they’ve said
  • Difficulty following complex conversations
  • Thinking that others are mumbling or speaking quietly
  • Struggling to differentiate speech from background noise
  • Watching TV or listening to the radio at high volumes
  • Inappropriate responses during conversation
  • Straining to hear what others are saying
  • Withdrawal from hobbies or socializing
  • Family history of hearing loss
  • Taking medications that may harm hearing
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and thyroid or circulation problems
  • History of exposure to loud sounds

Only a comprehensive hearing exam can diagnose hearing loss. Learn more about our hearing exam process.

Learn More About Hearing Tests

Husband talking to wife about signs of hearing loss

couple using the Beltone SmartRemote app for their hearing aids while hiking

Types of Hearing Loss

There are a few different types of hearing loss, all involving breakdowns in the physical and cognitive processes that govern hearing.

Problems within the outer and middle ear are usually categorized as conductive hearing loss, while inner-ear and brain-processing difficulties are referred to as sensorineural hearing loss. Each type requires a different approach to treatment.

Types of Hearing Loss

Do You Have a Hearing Loss?

If you suspect you have a hearing loss, ignoring or neglecting it can make it worse.

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