7 Signs of Hearing Loss

Written by the Nano Hearing Aids Team
Reviewed for Accuracy by Lindsay Roberts, AuD.

Lindsay Roberts
7 Signs of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can become more noticeable as you get older. In fact, more than half of people in the U.S. over the age of 75 have age-related hearing loss, according to the Mayo Clinic. Also known as presbycusis, hearing loss typically worsens gradually, but in some cases it can be sudden.

Below are common signs of hearing loss and what you can do strongtextabout it.

7 Signs of Hearing Loss


Difficulty Understanding Speech in Noisy Environments:

Finding it difficult to follow conversations in noisy environments is a common early sign of hearing loss. For example, you’re at a restaurant with friends, and despite straining to listen, you can’t make out what anyone is saying.


Frequently Asking People To Repeat Themselves:

Having trouble understanding what people are saying in conversation is another common sign of hearing loss. You might find yourself asking friends and family to repeat what they said because their words sound unclear or you misunderstand what was said.


Turning Up the Volume:

Your family or friends might point out that the TV volume sounds excessively loud, but you might need to frequently increase the volume to clearly hear the dialogue.


Avoiding Social Situations

You might decline an invitation to a social event, such as a dinner party, because you anticipate having a difficult time hearing and participating in conversations. This might also cause you to feel withdrawn and isolated.



Tinnitus involves a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears. Some people with hearing loss experience tinnitus frequently throughout the day, making it challenging to concentrate.


Muffled Words

Another common sign of hearing loss is muffled words. It might sound as if someone is speaking through a layer of cotton when they speak to you, which makes it nearly impossible to understand what they are saying.


Feeling Tired or Stressed From Having To Concentrate While Listening:

It can require a lot of energy to listen if you have hearing loss. You might feel exhausted and mentally drained at the end of each day because you had to exert extra effort to concentrate on what was being said due to your hearing difficulties.

What are the Types of Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss can occur for many reasons. There are three main categories of hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type and occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or auditory nerve. This can be due to aging, noise exposure, genetics, and other reasons.

Conductive hearing loss occurs when the outer or middle ear has an issue that prevents sound waves from traveling to the inner ear. This can be due to ear infections, earwax buildup, a perforated eardrum (hole in the eardrum), growth in the ear canal, or structural abnormalities.

Mixed hearing loss occurs when there are issues in both the inner ear or auditory nerve, as well as in the outer or middle ear.

What Are The Risk Factors For Hearing Loss?

There are several risk factors that can increase a person’s likelihood of experiencing hearing loss, including:


The risk of hearing loss tends to increase with age.

Noise Exposure

Repeated exposure to loud noises can damage the inner ear. Wearing ear protection, such as earplugs, can help prevent inner ear damage.


Hearing loss can be passed down genetically in families. In this case, getting your hearing tested regularly is important for early detection, as hearing tests can identify changes in your hearing ability over time.

Occupational Exposure

Working jobs where there are loud noises, such as in construction or manufacturing, can put someone at a higher risk of developing hearing loss. Wearing ear plugs or a similar type of ear protection can help prevent inner ear damage from repeated exposure to loud noises.

Medical Conditions

Diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and other conditions can put someone at higher risk of developing hearing loss. 


Some medications can be ototoxic (having a toxic effect on the ear or its nerve supply) and can therefore potentially harm the inner ear. 

Head Injuries

Certain head injuries can cause hearing loss.

Earwax Buildup

Excessive earwax can lead to a blockage of the ear canal, causing difficulty hearing. 

Ear Infection

Chronic ear infections can potentially lead to hearing loss.

Use of Headphones

Listening to loud music or sounds through headphones can put people at a higher risk of developing noise induced hearing loss.

What Can I Do About Hearing Loss?
What Can I Do About Hearing Loss?

If you suspect you might have severe hearing loss, it’s important to seek treatment by scheduling a consultation with your doctor or a hearing specialist. Severe symptoms of hearing loss include (but are not limited to) having difficulty understanding speech even in quiet settings, limited ability to hear everyday sounds (such as the phone ringing or doorbells), reading lips to understanding people, and avoiding social gatherings due to having difficulty understanding people.

While profound hearing loss requires a visit to the doctor and most likely a prescription for hearing aids, there are others who experience perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. For perceived mild to moderate hearing loss, OTC hearing aids might be the solution you need.

OTC Hearing Aids for Perceived Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss

Someone with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss might have the below symptoms:

  • Trouble hearing conversations in noisy places, including places with a lot of background noise
  • Difficulty hearing someone on the phone
  • Feeling tired from listening
  • Finding it difficult to follow conversations and hear people in group settings
  • Needing to turn up the volume on the TV or radio, even if others say that it’s loud

If you or someone you love has perceived mild to moderate hearing loss, OTC hearing aids might be very effective at improving your ability to hear. OTC hearing aids are medical devices regulated by the FDA and do not require a prescription, hearing exam, hearing test, medical exam, or doctor’s appointment. They are intended for those with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss to help improve your ability to hear. After purchasing the hearing aids online, you’ll fit the hearing aids yourself and follow the instructions for how to use them. You’ll also be able to adjust the volume to the appropriate level that is best for your hearing needs.

The process of fitting a hearing aid in your ears will differ based on the brand you choose. With Nano OTC hearing aids, for example, you simply select the appropriate dome size for your ears, turn them on, and insert them. Keep in mind that it can take a few days to weeks for your ears and brain to adapt to hearing aids, which is why Nano OTC Hearing Aids come with a 45-day money-back guarantee and free 24/7 lifetime support.

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