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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 recognise any of the below symptoms, we recommend getting a free hearing test at a hearing clinic near you.

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1. Difficulty following conversations
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 recognise any of the above 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 tested.

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Degrees of hearing loss

The degree of hearing loss refers to the severity of the loss and is generally categorised 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.
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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. 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 ear drum. It can be treated using hearing aids or other medical options.

Mixed hearing loss
Mixed hearing loss is when both aspects of 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 adults
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About 1 in 5 adults has hearing loss
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On average, people with hearing loss wait 7-10 years before seeking treatment
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80% of people aged 55-74 who can benefit from hearing aids do not use them

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:

  • Ageing
  • Excessive noise exposure
  • Injury
  • Viral infections (such as measles or mumps)
  • Wax build-up
  • Ototoxic drugs (medications that damage hearing)
  • Genetics

Tip from an audiologist

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

It takes time for patients to come to terms with their diagnosis, and hearing loss is stigmatised. As an audiologist, I am all too aware of the impact of hearing loss on a patients social, psychological, and mental wellbeing; however, the patient will ultimately decide what is best for them.

Often, patients take time to process their diagnosis, make an informed decision and return for treatment. It thrills me to know when they are taking control of their hearing health. 



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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

5 steps to improving your hearing

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1. Hearing loss or maybe it's just earwax?
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2. Schedule your FREE hearing test in a clinic near you.
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3. Select a pair of hearing aids with a 90-day money back guarantee.
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5. Hear well and live well. Receive FREE, unlimited aftercare.
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How to prevent hearing loss

While there is no cure for loss of hearing, there are steps you can take in preventing hearing loss and reducing your chances of developing hearing loss over the course of your lifetime.

FAQ about hearing loss

Brian Daly, Hearing Aid Audiologist

“I consider myself a lucky one to have figured out what I love to do!”

My name is Brian Daly, and I’ve always been interested in audiology. I had “Glue Ear” as a child, which was treated by grommets. This had a profound effect on my hearing ability, and I felt pretty isolated. I want to protect people from that awful feeling helping them hear better, which is why I choose a career in audiology.

Advancements in technology and A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) are positively improving treatment options for patients. For example, new hearing aids enable a hearing experience on par with natural hearing, which is remarkable in today's "noisy world". These technologies give me tremendous confidence in my ability to help patients and improve their quality of life.

Hearing loss "cuts you off” from family, friends and life, affecting wellbeing, mental health and cognition. Therefore, I strongly suggest you don't delay treatment for hearing loss. Timely intervention enables effective treatment to improve long-term hearing ability, preventing or slowing further decline—moreover, the cost of hearing aids increases as hearing declines.


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.