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6 signs and symptoms of hearing loss

The symptoms of hearing loss depend on the type, degree and cause of hearing loss.

If you recognize any of the symptoms listed below, we recommend getting a complimentary hearing assessment* at a hearing center near you.

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1. Difficulty following conversations
You have 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 (called tinnitus)
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6. Turning up the TV too loud
Your friends and family say you turn the television up too loud

Do you recognize any of these signs of hearing loss?

If you or someone you know can relate to any of the signs of hearing loss listed above, then it may be an indication of hearing impairment, and you should get your hearing assessed.

Get my hearing checked

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Quiz yourself: Should I get my hearing checked?

Answer a few questions to see if you could benefit from a hearing assessment.*

Question 1 – Around the table
Do you have trouble following conversations when there are 4 or more people present?
Have you received advice from your family or friends to get your hearing tested?
Do you ever struggle to understand what others are saying because you cannot hear properly?
Do you find yourself turning up the TV or radio even when the volume is loud enough for others?

Your Result:

A hearing assessment is relevant for you

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

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

Book your complimentary hearing assessment:

Your Result:

A hearing assessment seems relevant for you

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

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

Book your complimentary hearing assessment:

Your Result:

It cannot be determined here if a hearing assessment is relevant for you

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

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

Book your complimentary hearing assessment:

Step 1 of 6

Degrees of hearing loss

The degree of hearing loss refers to the severity of the loss and is generally categorized as either mild, moderate, severe, or profound.

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

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Normal hearing (≤25 dB)
No perceived hearing loss symptoms.
Illustration shows ear with mild hearing loss ear waves
Mild hearing loss (26-40 dB)
Soft speech is difficult to hear, especially in noisy environments.
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Moderate hearing loss (41-60 dB)
Following a conversation in noisy environments or group settings is problematic.
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Severe hearing loss (61-80 dB)
People have to speak loudly for you to hear them.
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Profound hearing loss (≥81 dB)
Hearing is challenging in most environments.

Types of hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss
The most common type of hearing loss is called sensorineural hearing loss. It can be caused by damage to tiny hair-like cells in the inner ear or damage to the auditory nerve.3 Often, this type of hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids.

Conductive hearing loss
This type of hearing loss comes from a mechanical problem in the middle or outer part of the ear. Conductive hearing loss can also be caused by an obstruction of some sort in the canal of the ear, such as earwax preventing sound from getting to the eardrum. It can be treated using hearing aids or other medical options.

Mixed hearing loss
Mixed hearing loss is when aspects of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss are present.

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 adults⁴
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About 1 in 5 adults has hearing loss²
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On average, people with hearing loss wait 7-10 years before seeking treatment²
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80% of people aged 55-74 who can benefit from hearing aids do not use them²

What causes hearing loss?

Understanding the source of your hearing issues gives our professionals insight into your needs, so we can advise you with the 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:

  • Aging
  • Excessive noise exposure
  • Injury
  • Viral infections (such as measles or mumps)
  • Wax buildup
  • Ototoxic drugs (medications that damage hearing)
  • Genetics

Causes of hearing loss

Tip from an audiologist

If you are looking for treatment for hearing impairment, we advise you to begin the process as soon as possible.

This is key to improving your quality of life, so that you can enjoy your favorite activities again – such as engaging in conversations with friends and family or watching your favorite TV show.

Book appointment

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Treating hearing loss

Hearing loss treatments include: earwax removal, hearing aids, surgery, cochlear implants or bone-anchored hearing solutions.

The best solution for your hearing loss will depend on:

  • 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

3 steps to improve your hearing

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1. Schedule
your complimentary hearing assessment online or by phone
Book appointment
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2. Try
with a risk-free trial and experience firsthand
Risk-free 30-day trial
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3. Enjoy
life-changing hearing care and receive complimentary AfterCare program
AfterCare program

What happens during a hearing assessment?

Watch the video to learn what to expect when you visit a hearing center and receive a hearing assessment.

Book appointment

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How to prevent hearing loss

While there is no cure for loss of hearing, 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 healthy hearing practices and protection solutions that can help keep hearing loss at bay.

Preventing hearing loss

FAQs about hearing loss

Ryan Potter
Dr. Ryan Potter
Au.D., Doctor of Audiology
Dr. Ryan Potter received his Doctor of Audiology degree (Au.D.) from Towson University, Towson, Maryland, and his B.S. degree in Speech and Hearing from Elmira College. He is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A). 

During his more than 15-year tenure with HearingLife, Dr. Potter has worked as an audiologist and District Manager, and is currently the Director of Clinical Training. He is passionate about helping people hear well again. Dr. Potter puts an exceptional patient experience at the center of all he does.


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.