Hearing loss often happens slowly. So slowly that you might even get used to living with less-than-perfect hearing or not notice the sounds you’re no longer hearing. To prevent further damage, it’s important to be aware of the subtle but damaging signs that your hearing isn’t what it used to be.
Hearing loss signs & symptoms checklist:
- Turning up the volume on the TV, radio, phone, etc.
- Needing to lean in to hear better or asking people to repeat themselves
- Having trouble hearing alerts (phone, turn signal, doorbell)
- Feeling overly tired after listening
- Having a family history of hearing loss (parent or sibling)
- Hearing ringing or buzzing sounds, in one or both ears
- Feeling unsteady or dizzy
- No longer being able to hear sounds you once could, like birds chirping or crickets
- Having a hard time hearing when around noise or other sounds
- Pain in one or both ears
- Fluid leaking from one or both ears
- Having trouble hearing someone from another room
- Staying away from social activities because of your hearing
- Feeling that others mumble
- Having a noisy hobby or working in a noisy environment
- If you have ever had chemotherapy
- If you have ever had radiation on/to your head
- Having other health issues (e.g. diabetes, heart issues, dementia, etc.)
If you’ve noticed any of these signs in yourself or a loved one, the first step is to make an appointment at your nearest Hearing and Speech Nova Scotia location for a hearing test.
Specialised hearing tests
Sometimes, a regular hearing test just isn’t enough to explain the challenges you’re dealing with. When you see one of our audiologists, they might suggest you take one or more of the following specialised tests.
Auditory processing disorder (APD) testing
This test determines how a person understands difficult to hear sounds in their daily lives. It’s different from a hearing test, which measures the softest sounds a person can hear in a quiet setting. This test is often helpful for someone with both hearing and speech challenges, who isn’t seeing much progress with a speech-language pathologist or having difficulty learning through listening.
Evoked potential testing
An evoked potential test measures the time it takes for the brain to respond to sensory stimulation either through sight, sound or touch. This test is meant for people who can’t have a regular hearing test, is commonly used with babies who don’t pass their hearing screenings, for those experiencing balance-related concerns, when there is a large difference between the two ears, or when hearing difficulties are greater than their hearing loss would indicate.
Not everyone experiences tinnitus the same way. Many people say they hear a constant ringing in their ears, but some say it sounds more like buzzing, roaring, crickets or even a heartbeat. While tinnitus is common (Statistics Canada reports that 37% of adult Canadians experience it every year), it’s a good idea to have your hearing tested if you notice tinnitus symptoms.