5 Signs You Need to Visit a Hearing Clinic Immediately

Many people pay little attention to their hearing until something goes wrong. However, early intervention with a hearing test can help to prevent further damage and treat existing problems.

A hearing test typically involves a series of tones at different pitches and volumes. It usually takes place in a sound-treated room with a trained audiologist.

Ringing in the Ears

If you notice ringing in the ears, even if it comes and goes, it’s a sign that you should make an appointment at your nearest Sudbury hearing clinic. This is called tinnitus, which means that part of your inner ear is damaged. It can sound like a ringing, buzzing, hissing, whooshing, or pulsating noise. It can also be rhythmic, like a beat that matches your pulse (pulsatile tinnitus).

The audiologist will examine your ears and neck to see what could be causing it. This may include removing any excess wax. They’ll also ask about your medications, as some drugs can cause tinnitus. For example, tinnitus is a side effect of high blood pressure drugs and certain antibiotics. Other causes include temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), head injuries, and vestibular schwannoma (a non-cancerous tumor that affects the nerves that control balance and hearing).

Difficulty Hearing Others

Often, hearing loss comes on gradually, meaning it’s hard to recognize the signs until loved ones point them out to you. This is true of some forms of hearing loss, particularly those that are conductive and affect the outer or middle ear.

If you have trouble following conversations in noisy places, such as restaurants, this indicates that it’s time to visit a hearing clinic. This is because people with hearing loss have difficulty masking out background noise to focus on speech, and it cannot be easy to track lip movements in conversation.

You may also find that you frequently ask people to speak up or repeat themselves, another common sign of hearing loss. This can be a frustrating experience for both parties, and it is worth seeking a professional opinion.

Difficulty Listening to Music

Many people use music to regulate their emotions, especially if they have poor emotion regulation, associated with psychiatric mood disorders such as depression. Clinical music therapists use the power of music to help people improve their emotional state, and many of these listening strategies may carry over outside of the therapeutic context.

It’s normal to get a song stuck in your head occasionally, but if it happens all the time, you may have musical ear syndrome (MES). This means you hear sounds from your environment, like a tune or singing, when nothing is playing.

Hearing aids are designed to maximize speech perception, but they don’t consider the wide dynamic range and sudden changes in intensity that music produces. This can lead to distorted sounds and a less pleasurable music experience for people with hearing loss.

Difficulty Listening to Television

Many people experience difficulty with TV audio, especially when the sound effects and music are turned up to a high volume. This masks dialogue and can make understanding what is being said difficult. Increasing the TV volume may also disrupt other household members and is often ineffective for deaf individuals, who need a higher signal-to-noise ratio to recognize speech better.

If you need help to understand what is being said on television, an audiologist can evaluate your hearing by performing a comprehensive in-person assessment. This usually involves entering a sound-calibrated room or booth and being asked to listen to pure tones of varying pitches and frequencies. These tests can reveal how much hearing loss you have in each ear.

Difficulty Listening to Conversations

It may be time for a hearing check if you struggle to understand the people around you. Often, these symptoms result from hidden hearing loss that goes undetected on conventional audiograms.

Some common reasons you need help listening to conversations include being distracted by background noises or missing out on important information because your focus wanders. For example, if you’re conversing with family members about your son’s report card and notice a sports car outside, your attention may be diverted.

Other symptoms that you might have trouble listening to conversations are a tendency to interrupt others or misunderstand what they’re saying. You can improve your listening skills by practicing strategies like paraphrasing and taking notes.