10 signs you may have hearing loss

Since hearing loss is gradual, it’s not always obvious when your hearing changes, but there are signs that you can look out for to recognize problems. Learn the signs, and address your hearing loss by booking a free hearing assessment.*

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1. People seem to be mumbling
Have you noticed people in your life are mumbling more? When you have hearing loss, it limits your ability to hear certain sounds. This means that rather than hearing complete words and sentences, you may hear a mix of incomplete noises. Depending on your hearing loss, it may be more noticeable when talking with women or children, whose voices are softer, higher-pitched or more difficult to hear.

What is hearing loss

trouble hearing in restaurants? Get a hearing assessment
2. You can’t hear in restaurants
Is it hard for you to follow conversations when you eat in restaurants? When you suffer from hearing loss, background noises, such as clanking dishes and other conversations, tend to make it extremely difficult to focus on an individual voice and hold a conversation. You may also find the same is true in other noisy settings, such as parties, cafes or outdoors.

Hearing does amazing things

Should I have my hearing checked?

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Many people are unaware that they have hearing loss. Because hearing loss worsens gradually, we tend to learn to compensate, making it difficult to notice we even have an issue.
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So how do you know if it’s time to get your hearing addressed? We’ve created an online hearing test that can give you an indication of how well you’re hearing, using background noise, tone tests and self-evaluation questions.
Take the online test
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The online test should not replace a hearing assessment* performed by our hearing care experts at one of our locations, but it can help verify if you have hearing loss and guide you to the appropriate next steps.

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3. You avoid social gatherings
Difficulty hearing in certain settings or situations may make you try to avoid them. This is actually common in people with untreated hearing loss. Parties or social gatherings become less fun when it’s a struggle to follow conversations. It may be difficult to hear over music or competing voices. You may find yourself sitting out of certain conversations or ducking out of events early in frustration, boredom or after misunderstanding.

Consequences of untreated hearing loss

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4. Conversations are exhausting
If you find yourself exhausted after conversations, it may be because you have hearing loss. When you have trouble hearing, it takes a greater cognitive effort to hear. This can leave you feeling mentally fatigued. Your level of exhaustion may be exacerbated on days when you need to concentrate – such as at conferences or ceremonies – or in settings where it’s difficult to hear, like restaurants or malls.

Treating hearing loss

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5. You can’t hear on the telephone
Is it harder to hear on the phone? Perhaps you find that you want to use the highest volume on a cell phone. Phone conversations, particularly on our mobile devices, can be tricky for all of us. Poor reception and background noise can sometimes make it necessary to fill in gaps in the conversation. When you have normal hearing, you may find it a challenge, but with hearing loss, it is even harder. As a result, voices may seem muffled and nearly impossible to understand.

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6. Television is a struggle
When your hearing worsens, it can be hard to enjoy television or movies the way you used to. You may find that dialogue is difficult to make out, while background noises or commercials are intolerably loud. Scenes where actors face away from the screen, whisper, are in the dark, or are drowned-out by other noises may be impossible to make sense of without closed captions. You may find that you turn up the volume so loudly that people complain in the next room. Going to the movies is even worse, as you can’t adjust the volume.

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7. You can’t hear your grandchildren
Hearing a grandchild’s first words and everything they have to say thereafter is one of life’s greatest gifts. But for people with hearing loss, the sound of children’s voices can be the most difficult to hear. Children tend to have high-pitched voices and are prone to speaking softly, mumbling or mispronouncing words. They’re also less likely to repeat themselves if you haven’t heard properly the first time. If you have trouble hearing, it may hinder your ability to converse with and ultimately connect with your grandchildren.

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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 3

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8. Your relationships are strained
Not hearing at your best can be frustrating–both for yourself as well as your family and friends, and can manifest itself in many ways. It can leave your loved ones annoyed at the need to repeat themselves or maybe even feeling ignored. You may feel that your loved ones are increasingly frustrated or upset with you. You may even feel like you’re often being yelled at. If you have noticed tension lately, it might be time to consider whether your hearing is the culprit.
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9. Your ears feel clogged
Hearing loss can feel like clogged ears. Noises are muffled and unclear. It may feel like there’s something preventing you from hearing correctly. If you’ve been examined by a doctor and there’s no evidence of a blockage or infection, it could be hearing loss. The same goes for tinnitus – or ringing of the ears. While not itself a form of hearing loss, tinnitus is often one of the first signs of a hearing loss, and something which you should be addressing if you have it.
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10. You are just not yourself
You may be feeling down, distracted or bored in conversations. Maybe you’re even experiencing difficulty balancing or you’re falling more. Perhaps you’ve stopped socializing as much, or you don’t feel as sharp as you normally do. While it may not seem obvious, all these issues are actually linked to untreated hearing loss. Poor hearing can keep you from feeling like yourself, and it’s definitely worth your while to find out if this is the case for you.


1. Beck DL, Clark, JL. Audition matters more as cognition declines and cognition matters more as audition declines. Audi-ology Today. 2009;(3):48-59.
2. Tan, Christine M et al. “Tinnitus and patterns of hearing loss” Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngolo-gy : JARO vol. 14,2 (2013): 275-82.