Signs of hearing loss

It's not always easy to tell if you're losing your hearing.

Common signs include:

  • difficulty hearing other people clearly and misunderstanding what they say, especially in noisy places

  • asking people to repeat themselves

  • listening to music or watching TV with the volume higher than other people need

  • difficulty hearing on the phone

  • finding it hard to keep up with a conversation

  • feeling tired or stressed from having to concentrate while listening

Sometimes someone else might notice problems with your hearing before you do.

Hearing loss can affect a child's speech development and progress at school.

Hearing loss Assessment

  • Physical exam. A health care provider looks in your ear for possible causes of your hearing loss, such as earwax or an infection. The way your ear is formed might cause hearing problems, as well.

  • Screening tests. A whisper test, which involves covering one ear at a time while listening to words spoken at many volumes, can show how you react to other sounds.

  • App-based hearing tests. You can use a mobile app on your tablet to screen yourself for hearing loss.

  • Tuning fork tests. Tuning forks are two-pronged, metal instruments that make sounds when hit. Simple tests with tuning forks can help find hearing loss. They may also show where the ear damage is.

  • Audiometer tests. A specialist in hearing loss, known as an audiologist, does these more-thorough tests. Sounds and words are directed through earphones to each ear. Each tone is repeated at low levels to find the quietest sound you can hear.