Signs of hearing loss

Signs of hearing loss can affect people of all ages, with the onset usually gradual. It’s thought that at least one in six people in the UK suffer from some hearing loss symptoms, which can have an impact on their day-to-day life.

Hearing loss signs are painless and invisible, which means people don’t always recognise when they’re developing. Many people become used to an absence of reduction in sound quality without even noticing. Read on to learn more about common signs of hearing loss, and how our hearing diagnostics services may be able to help.

What Are The Common Signs Of Hearing Loss?

From muffled sounds to feelings of isolation, the symptoms of hearing loss can be extremely wide-ranging. If you find yourself experiencing any of the below signs of hearing loss, we recommend that you undergo a full hearing examination:

  • Frequently asking others to repeat themselves
  • Feeling as though sound is muffled, or that other people are mumbling
  • Talking louder than usual, and perhaps unwittingly dominating conversations
  • Experiencing a ringing noise (tinnitus) in one or both ears
  • Struggling to hear when the doorbell rings, or when you’re talking on the phone
  • Being unable to tell where particular sounds are coming from
  • Struggling to hear conversation in a crowd
  • Listening to TV or Radio at a very high volume
  • Finding men's voices easier to understand than women's or children's
  • Trouble hearing people speaking from a distance
  • Straining one ear over the other

The signs of hearing loss may also leave you feeling isolated, as you start to avoid previously enjoyable social situations due to communication challenges. This may leave you feeling irritable, and potentially even depressed. If this sounds familiar, you may benefit from support such as hearing aids.

What Causes Signs Of Hearing Loss?

The common signs of hearing loss may be attributed to excess loud noise exposure, or even genetics, but there are actually two main types of hearing loss:

  • Sensori-neural hearing loss - the term for damage within the inner ear and/or the auditory nerve
  • Conductive hearing loss - when there is damage within the middle ear, the ear drum, or the bones behind the ear drum

As a result, hearing loss symptoms can be attributed to a variety of causes, including:

  • Age-related (Presbycusis): age-related signs of hearing loss typically come on gradually, often occurring in both ears and mainly affecting high-pitched sounds
  • Inherited hearing loss: can be attributed to many different syndromes or through other genetic causes
  • Noise-induced hearing loss symptoms: this can be permanent or temporary hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noises; either a sudden very loud sound or more commonly repeated exposure to high level sounds
  • Inner ear infection: often caused by a viral or bacterial infection. This hearing loss is likely to come on suddenly with varying levels of severity
  • Head trauma: fracturing the skull can cause damage to the inner ear or the hearing nerve
  • Ototoxic medication: this can cause temporary or permanent damage to the cochlea, typically affecting the higher pitches of hearing. Ototoxic medication may include lifesaving antibiotics and some chemotherapy drugs
  • Excess ear wax: a build-up of wax in the outer ear may stop sounds from reaching the ear drum. Ear microsuction can remove excess wax, in a more comfortable and effective way than ear syringing
  • Outer ear (otitis externa) or middle ear (otitis media) infections: infections and inflammation in the outer ear or middle ear can cause conductive hearing loss
  • Ear drum perforation: a hole in the ear drum can be caused by several factors, including trauma, pressure, ear surgery, and infection
  • Glue ear: this refers to inflammation in the middle ear, with associated fluid filling the middle ear space around the ossicles. The fluid stops the ossicles and ear drum from moving effectively and stops sound from easily passing through to the inner ear, which may cause hearing loss symptoms


If you’re struggling with signs of hearing loss, hearing diagnostics can help our professionals to understand where your current hearing levels are, so we can determine the best course of action for your individual needs.

Our London Ear Centre experts will perform a number of different tests depending on what they feel is required to determine whether or not your hearing is normal. If any impairments are detected, we will advise on the best solutions available, based on your lifestyle and requirements. All hearing tests are carried out in a sound-treated booth or room, following best clinical practice recommendations, with all testing procedures explained to you before we begin to keep you fully informed.

Our hearing assessments may include the following where appropriate, depending on the hearing loss symptoms you’re experiencing:

  • A review of your audiological and medical history
  • A hearing evaluation questionnaire
  • Pure tone audiometry - this is a test to identify your hearing thresholds and the extent of any hearing loss
  • Speech audiometry - this is used to determine the weakest intensity for word recognition
  • Tympanometry - this is a test that examines the health of the middle ear, as well as ear drum movement
  • Acoustic reflexes - this assessment allows us to screen the integrity of the auditory nerve pathway

Following your hearing diagnostics assessment, we’ll provide you with a consultation and individual management plan for your hearing loss symptoms, as well as a comprehensive audiological report or e-report to help you understand the recommended next steps.

Contact us

Find out more about the ear care, ear protection, and hearing diagnostics services available at London Ear Centre, at our Canary Wharf, Marylebone, and Orpington sites. Book an appointment today to find out more about hearing aids or to undergo microsuction ear wax removal.

If you have any questions about our services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

S Razzaque
Caring and professional staff, excellent clinic set up, very thorough ear and hearing diagnostics. Excellent service, recommend to all.
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Mohammed providing a sterling service! He treated my blocked ears and also gave me additional details to help my TMJ. Excellent doctor and I highly recommend him.
Chiraag Mutreja
Went for microsuctuon. The doctor was knowledgeable, professional and friendly. Highly recommended.
Nikolai Hoffmann
Great service w. Sunny who was prompt but thorough with the wax removal. Thanks for the service!
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