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6 signs and symptoms of hearing loss

Hearing loss symptoms can differ depending on the type of hearing impairment you have.

Below are some of the most common hearing loss signs and symptoms. If you recognise any of them, we recommend booking a free hearing test at a hearing clinic near you so that we can give your hearing a thorough check. 

Image shows a woman struggling to keep up with a conversation because of untreated hearing loss
1. Difficulty following conversations
Difficulty following conversations involving more than two people or when there’s background noise
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2. Phone conversations are unclear
You have trouble following phone conversations in both quiet and noisy surroundings
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3. People seem to be mumbling
You often ask people to repeat themselves. Sounds seem unclear or people sound like they are mumbling
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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 turn the television up too loud

Do any of these hearing loss signs and symptoms seem familiar?

If you can relate to any of the signs of hearing loss above, then it may be an indication that you have a loss of hearing.

Or perhaps you recognise these signs in someone you know, like a friend or family member who you think might be ‘hard of hearing’.

Book a free hearing test

hearing test

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:

Step 1 of 5

Degrees of hearing loss

The degree of hearing loss is generally categorised as being either mild, moderate, severe, or profound.

It can be measured in decibels hearing level (dB HL), referring to how loud sounds need to be for you to hear them.

Illustration shows ear with normal hearing loss ear waves
Normal hearing (≤20 dB HL)
No perceived hearing loss symptoms.
Illustration shows ear with mild hearing loss ear waves
Mild hearing loss (21–40 dB HL)
Soft speech is difficult to hear, especially in noisy environments.
Illustration shows ear with moderate hearing loss ear waves
Moderate hearing loss (41–70 dB HL)
It’s difficult to follow conversations in noisy environments or group settings.
Illustration shows ear with severe hearing loss ear waves
Severe hearing loss (71–95 dB HL)
People have to speak loudly for you to hear them.
Illustration shows ear with profound hearing loss ear waves
Profound hearing loss (≥95 dB HL)
Hearing is challenging in most environments.

Types of hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing impairment. It can be caused by damage to tiny hair-like cells in the inner ear or damage to the auditory nerve. Often, this type of hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids.

Conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs when there are mechanical problems in the middle or outer part of the ear. It can also be caused by an obstruction of some sort in the ear canal, such as ear wax stopping sound from reaching the eardrum. It can be treated using hearing aids or other medical options.

Mixed hearing loss
When sensorineural and conductive hearing loss occur together, it’s called mixed hearing loss.

Types of hearing loss


Facts about hearing loss

Hearing loss is more common than you might think.

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Hearing loss is the 3rd most common health condition among adults
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About 1 in 5 adults has hearing loss
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On average, people with hearing loss wait 7–10 years before seeking treatment
Illustration shows 80%
80% of people aged 55–74 who can benefit from hearing aids do not use them

What causes hearing loss?

Understanding the source of your hearing problems can give our professionals insight into your individual needs. This means we can advise you on best options for your specific treatment. That's why we encourage you to speak with our experts as soon as you notice any hearing difficulties.

Common causes of hearing loss include:

  • Ageing
  • Excessive noise exposure
  • Injury
  • Viral infections (such as measles or mumps)
  • Ear wax build-up
  • Ototoxic drugs (medications that can damage your hearing)
  • Genetics

Causes of hearing loss

Tip from our experts

If you’re looking for hearing loss treatment, the sooner you act the better.

This is key to improving your quality of life, so that you can enjoy your favourite activities again, whether you want to engage more in conversations with friends and family or simply watch your favourite TV show more easily.

Book a free hearing test

Hearing care expert

Treating hearing loss

The best solution for your hearing loss will depend on your:

  • Type of hearing loss
  • Degree of hearing loss
  • Cause of hearing loss
  • Your budget
  • Lifestyle, personal interests, cosmetic preferences and communication needs

Hearing loss treatment Online hearing test

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
Plans and Insurance
4. Learn about different payment and protection plans
Hearing aid finance
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5. Hear well and live well. Receive free, unlimited aftercare

What happens at a hearing test?

You might be wondering what happens at a hearing test, especially if it has been a while since you last had one. Or maybe you’ve never had one.

This short video takes you through what happens, step by step.

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What happens at a hearing test?


Here is a look at what happens at a hearing test with Hidden Hearing.




What happens at a hearing test


Hidden Hearing logo





Our hearing professional will sit down with you to discuss your hearing concerns, Medical history and Lifestyle


Our hearing professional will discuss

Concerns History Lifestyle


Audiologist sitting with a customer




This is followed by a physical ear exam. Your ears will be checked for ear wax and other irregularities.

Physical ear exam


Ear wax

Other irregularities


Audiologist examining customer’s ear




You will be placed in a sound booth, where you will complete a series of tone, speech and word tests



Sounds booth


Tone, Speech & word tests


Man sitting in a sound booth taking a hearing test


Hidden Hearing goes above and beyond a baseline Hearing test by relying on the following pillars

Baseline Hearing Test

Hidden Hearing Hearing test


Histogram showing baseline hearing test and Hidden Hearing hearing test


Audiological, cognitive, psychological and subjective nuances


That’s it.



Audiological, cognitive, psychological, subjective nuances



Upon completion of your hearing test, you will get same day result

Same day result


Audiologist sitting with customer



If you have no hearing loss, great!


We recommend you test your hearing once annually if you are over 60


No hearing loss?



We recommend you test your hearing once annually if you are over 60


Man walking




If a hearing loss is detected, your hearing professional will provide you a customized hearing solution

Hearing loss detected?


We’ll provide a customized hearing solution


Audiologist talking with customer and showing hearing aids options.



A hearing test is easy and takes about 30 minutes to complete

A hearing test is easy and takes about 30 minutes to complete


Audiologists waving goodbye at customer



Book your free hearing test at Hidden Hearing today.

Book your FREE hearing test at Hidden Hearing



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Keep being independent

For Frank, being his own boss felt so freeing at one point. But over time, it felt limiting when he began struggling to communicate with his customers.

It took Frank 15 years to build his business. Now, with the right hearing solution, he's confident he'll still be running it for the next 15.

Hidden Hearing's personalised hearing care keeps his hearing as sharp as his knives so he can be his best every day. See what state-of-the-art hearing technology tailored to your needs can do for your hearing and your life.

Book appointment  Online hearing test

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How to prevent hearing loss

There is no cure for loss of hearing. But there are steps you can take to prevent it and reduce your chances of developing hearing loss over the course of your lifetime.

Learn more about the ways to both protect your hearing and to keep it healthy – these could help prevent you from developing hearing loss.

Preventing hearing loss

FAQs about hearing loss

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.


1. Kochkin, Sergei (2009) ”MarkeTrak VIII: 25-Year Trends in the Hearing Health Market” The Hearing Review, vol. 16, no. 11.
2. McCormack, A. & Fortnum, H. Why do people fitted with hearing aids not wear them? Int J Audiol. 2013 May; 52(5): 360–368.
3. Chisolm, T. H., Johnson, C. E., Danhauer, J. L., Portz, L. J. P., Abrams, H. B., Lesner, S., … Newman, C. W. (2007). A systematic review of health-related quality of life and hearing aids: Final report of the American Academy of Audiology Task Force on the Health-Related Quality of Life Benefits of Amplification in Adults. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 18(2), 151-183
4. Masterson EA, Bushnell PT, Themann CL, Morata TC. Hearing Impairment Among Noise-Exposed Workers — United States, 2003–2012. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:389–394. DOI:
5. Haile et al. Hearing loss prevalence and years lived with disability, 1990–2019: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. The Lancet. 2021 March.