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Common Symptoms and Signs of Hearing Loss

One in six people in Australia has a hearing loss, and with the ageing of Australia’s population, hearing loss is projected to increase to one in every four Australians by 2050.

Hearing loss is usually a very gradual process. In many cases it goes undetected and untreated for too long, causing irreversible damage.

People often think it is not their hearing, but others not speaking clearly which is the problem. They may make excuses, or wait for their doctor to recommend a hearing test.

Some early warning signs of hearing loss are

  • Muffled quality of speech and other sounds.
  • Difficulty understanding words, especially against background noise or in a crowd of people
  • Difficulty understanding people unless they are facing you
  • Thinking that others do not talk properly and mumble
  • Frequently asking others to speak more slowly, clearly and loudly
  • Difficulty understanding women and children’s voices.
  • Struggling to hear conversation from a distance
  • Needing to turn up the volume of the television or radio
  • Difficulties hearing on the telephone
  • Avoidance of some social gathering
  • Missing the telephone or door bell
  • Hearing well in private settings, but not in groups
  • Becoming more sensitive to loud sounds
  • Experiencing ringing in the ears
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How to tell if you need hearing aids

Hearing loss can happen very gradually and many people don’t notice it happening until it has become quite pronounced. However this deterioration in hearing is often obvious to the people around them.

If you answer YES to one or more of the following questions, you should have your hearing assessed.

  • Do you often need to ask people to repeat what they have said?
  • Do you typically have trouble understanding a conversation in a group or in the presence of background noise?
  • Do you think that people are regularly not speaking clearly or are ‘mumbling’?
  • Do you need to set the volume of the TV higher than other people to hear comfortably?
  • Do you become frustrated or even totally avoid some social occasions because there is too much noise or you cannot keep up with the conversation?
  • Do you need to be close to the speaker at meetings, seminars, restaurants or in religious services to understand?
  • Do you need to maintain eye contact or see people’s faces to understand what they are saying?
  • Do you find it difficult to localize where sounds are coming from?
  • Have your family or friends asked whether you have a hearing problem?
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