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Signs and symptoms of hearing loss

Learn what the signs of hearing loss are and how to take action.

6 early signs of hearing loss

The signs of hearing loss may develop slowly over time. This makes them difficult to notice.
Knowing what the signs are can help you take steps towards improving your hearing.
Hearing loss
Image shows a woman struggling to keep up with a conversation because of untreated hearing loss
1. Difficulty following conversations
You have difficulty following group conversations (or when there's background noise)
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2. Phone conversations are unclear
You have trouble following phone conversations, both in quiet and noisy places
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3. People seem to be mumbling
You often ask people to repeat themselves or people sound like they are mumbling
Image shows a man searching for the source of a sound he can hear outside
4. Difficulty locating sounds
You have difficulty locating where sounds are coming from
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5. Signs of tinnitus
You experience ringing or buzzing sounds in your ears (tinnitus)
Image shows someone turning up the volume on their TV due to hearing loss
6. Turning up the TV too loud
Your friends and family say you have the TV up too loud
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Self-assessment: Do I need a hearing test? 

Just answer the four questions below to see whether you should consider getting a hearing test.

Question 1 – Around the table
Do you have trouble following conversations when there are four or more people present?
Have your family or friends suggested that you get your hearing tested?
Do you ever struggle to understand what others are saying because you cannot hear them properly?
Do you find yourself turning up the TV or radio, even when the volume is loud enough for others?

Your Result:

You would benefit from a hearing test

Your answers indicate that you experience symptoms of hearing loss. We strongly recommend booking a hearing test in one of our clinics.

The result is an indication. An in-person hearing test can determine if you have a hearing loss.



Book your free hearing test:

Your Result:

It seems you’d benefit from a hearing test

Your answers indicate that you experience some symptoms of hearing loss. We recommend booking a hearing test in one of our clinics.

The result is an indication. An in-person hearing test can determine if you have a hearing loss.



Book your free hearing test:

Your Result:

It cannot be determined whether you’d benefit from a hearing test

Your answers do not indicate that you experience symptoms of hearing loss. However, if you experience trouble hearing, we recommend booking a hearing test in one of our clinics.

The result is an indication. An in-person hearing test can determine if you have a hearing loss.




Book your free hearing test:

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Pay attention to early symptoms of hearing loss

Hearing loss often occurs gradually, so it may be difficult to notice when your hearing begins to decline. Your friends and family might even notice it before you do. 

Knowing what the signs and symptoms of hearing loss are means you can get treatment early and reap the benefits of better hearing. When you visit a local Hidden Hearing clinic for an in-depth hearing evaluation, one of our experts will identify your level of hearing ability. They'll then recommend the best treatment option for your hearing needs. 

Take online hearing test Hearing loss types

Help someone with hearing loss

Early recognition could improve your quality of life

Hearing loss can get worse over time if left untreated. Getting treatment as soon as you recognise any early signs of hearing loss is important, especially considering the consequences of untreated hearing loss, such as:

  • Missing out on conversations with loved ones, friends, and colleagues each day
  • Feeling left out or unable to hear during social events
  • Feelings of isolation or depression 
Book a free hearing test Untreated hearing loss

Types of hearing loss: Signs and symptoms

The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss. It's usually caused by the natural ageing process and/or extensive exposure to loud noises. Understanding the difference between sensorineural and other types of hearing loss will give you an idea of the best treatment options available.

Signs of sensorineural hearing loss
Signs of conductive hearing loss Signs of sudden hearing loss
Difficulty following conversations involving more than two people Speech and other sounds seem distant or muffled Unexplained rapid loss of hearing
Difficulty following conversation when there’s background noise Pain, pressure in – or discharge from – the ear Loss of hearing all at once or over a couple of days
Difficulty understanding people on the phone A feeling of “fullness” in the ear Almost always experienced in just one ear
Sounds seem unclear or people sound like they're mumbling Sounds seem quieter (but aren't distorted) Vertigo
Difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds    
Ringing or buzzing in the ears (tinnitus)    

Sudden hearing loss: seek help immediately
If you experience sudden hearing loss, you should seek medical attention immediately. 

Levels of hearing loss

Hearing loss can be categorized by severity level. Your level of hearing ability is measured in decibels hearing level (dB HL), referring to how loud sounds need to be for you to hear them.
Hearing loss levels

Illustration of ear with und wave
Normal hearing (≤20 dB HL)
No apparent hearing loss symptoms.
Illustration of ear with und wave
Mild hearing loss (21–40 dB HL)
Soft speech is difficult to hear, especially in noisy environments.
Illustration of ear with und wave
Moderate hearing loss (41–70 dB HL)
Following a conversation in a noisy environment or a group setting is difficult.
Illustration of ear with und wave
Severe hearing loss (71-95 dB HL)
People have to speak loudly for you to hear them.
Illustration of ear with und wave
Profound hearing loss (≥95 dB HL)
Hearing is challenging in most environments.
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Hearing loss treatment options

Fortunately, there's a wealth of hearing loss treatments available to suit all types of hearing loss needs.

The most common and likely treatment for hearing loss is wearing hearing aids. In some cases, a cochlear implant (CI) or bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) might be recommended. Surgery or other medical solutions are also options for other cases.

But whatever the best treatment option for you is, the sooner you seek help, the better your outcome will be.

Book a free hearing test Hearing loss treatment

5 steps to better hearing

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1. Know what the signs of hearing loss are
Signs of hearing loss
Book a free hearing test with Hidden Hearing today
2. Book a free hearing test at your local clinic
Book hearing test
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3. Try a hearing aid for 60 risk-free days if we find a hearing loss
Money-back guarantee
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4. Learn about different payment and protection plans
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5. Hear well and live well. Receive free, unlimited aftercare
Aftercare
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Did you know?

Today’s hearing aids are more technologically advanced and smaller than ever. 

Some of them are practically invisible. But despite their small size, they give excellent sound quality – even in difficult listening scenarios.

Book a free hearing test

Signs and symptoms of hearing loss FAQs

David Shepherd
David Shepherd, Hearing Aid Dispenser

David Shepherd is a hearing aid dispenser who qualified through the Hearing Aid Council (HAC) in 1999. He has worked for Hidden Hearing for 18 years as a dispenser, team leader and mentor. He is currently the clinic dispenser in Hereford.