Middle-aged or early onset hearing loss often starts with a gradually decreased ability to hear high-pitched voices and soft consonants like p, s and t and growing difficulty hearing what is being said in a restaurant, bar or other place with lots of background noise.
Other symptoms to look out for include tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing in the ears immediately after exposure to noise; a slight muffling of sounds after noise exposure making it difficult to understand people when you leave a noisy area; and hearing the words, yet, having difficulty understanding speech.
If more than one of the following applies to you, you should see your family doctor and ask for a hearing test:
- You have a history of ear infections, earaches or running ears;
- Others say you turn your television too loud;
- Others accuse you of not paying attention;
- You have a constant ringing or buzzing sound in one or both ears;
- You hear better with one ear than the other on the phone;
- You have trouble understanding someone speaking to you from another room or when there is background noise;
- You mistake spoken words or numbers for similarly sounding words or numbers;
- You miss the punch line of jokes;
- You stay away from lectures or plays because you have to concentrate too hard to hear what is being said.
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