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means you have trouble hearing or you cannot hear at all in one or both ears. Hearing loss can happen suddenly or slowly over time.
Common signs and symptoms include the following:
- You often ask others to repeat what they just said. You may think people are mumbling or not speaking clearly. Family members ask you if your hearing is okay.
- You cup your hand behind one of your ears when you listen.
- You need to have the radio or television louder than usual.
- You need to lean forward or turn your head to be able to hear.
- You have ringing or buzzing in your ears, or you are dizzy.
- You avoid certain situations because you have a hard time hearing.
Seek care immediately if:
- You have fluid, pus, or blood leaking from your ear.
- You have sudden, severe hearing loss.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- You have ear pain that is getting worse.
- You have ringing in your ears or dizziness that will not go away.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
depends on the cause of your hearing loss. Removal of earwax or treatment for any medical conditions that have caused your hearing loss may be needed. You may need any of the following:
- A hearing aid is a small device that fits inside your ear and helps you hear better. Your healthcare provider can help you choose a hearing aid that is right for you.
- A cochlear implant is a tiny device that is put into your cochlea (part of your inner ear) during surgery. This device can only be used in people with sensorineural hearing loss.
- Assistive listening devices (ALDs) pick up sound and send it through earphones or a headset. ALDs can help you hear better when you are in a place with background noise. Examples include theaters, classrooms, or auditoriums. ALDs are also available for phones. ALDs can be used alone or with hearing aids or cochlear implants.
- Surgery may be needed if your hearing loss is caused by otosclerosis. Surgery may also be done to place small tubes in your ear. These tubes help drain fluid and help prevent ear infections.
Manage your hearing loss:
- Protect your hearing. Use ear plugs or ear protectors if you do activities that are very loud. These include using a lawnmower and power tools or going to a concert that has loud music. Use well-fitting foam earplugs that completely block your ear canal. Do not listen to loud music through headphones or earphones.
- Tell people that you have hearing loss. Ask people to face you directly when they speak to you, and to slow down if they are speaking too fast. When you are in a group setting, sit in a location where you can clearly see the faces of the people who are speaking. Ask people not to speak loudly or shout when they are speaking to you. Try to talk with others in a quiet place. Background noise makes it harder for you to hear.
- Pay close attention to your surroundings when you drive. Do not talk to people in your car while you are driving. Watch for problems on the road or approaching emergency vehicles.
Follow up with your healthcare provider or audiologist as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.