Signs of Hearing Loss

Gradual Hearing Loss

Hearing loss often happens gradually, so you might not notice it at first. There are some common signs to look out for:

  • turning the TV up louder than others want it
  • needing the subtitles on
  • finding it hard to follow conversation in pubs, restaurants, and places with noisy backgrounds
  • some sounds seeming louder than normal
  • struggling to hear on the phone
  • often asking people to repeat what they say
  • having your partner complain that you don’t listen to them
  • feeling that other people mumble
  • not remembering things people tell you
  • feeling like you're getting clumsier
  • you don't get jokes like you used to
  • getting distracted more easily
  • being more tired than usual 

You may recognise a few of these signs, or more. If you do, a hearing test would be a good idea.

In Kent and Medway, you need to visit your GP, explain the issues you are having, and ask for a referral for a hearing test. 

The only way hearing loss can be confirmed is by having a full hearing test. Your doctor will then contact your local hospital's Audiology department or hearing clinic to ask for this. The hospital/clinic will then contact you with an appointment. 

At this appointment, an audiologist (hearing specialist) will examine your ears, diagnose any hearing loss, and discuss your treatment options with you.

You can also look online for private audiologists who can provide hearing tests and hearing aids, if necessary. There is a cost associated with this.

Sudden Hearing Loss

Sudden hearing loss can affect one or both ears.

It can happen instantly or over the course of a few weeks, and you might also have tinnitus or balance problems.

If you’ve suddenly lost hearing in one or both ears, contact NHS 111 or your GP urgently. You could also visit your nearest A&E department.

The cause of your sudden hearing loss might not be serious, but in some cases can be a medical emergency. If this is the case, there is a very short window of time for treatment to successfully restore hearing. Recovery from sudden hearing loss will depend on the cause and how badly you’re affected.

a lady is cupping her ear and leaning forward. She is wearing a white shirt and blue jeans with long brown, straight hair.