Hearing loss can occur suddenly, but most adults experience gradual hearing loss. In this guide, we’ll discuss what gradual hearing loss is and outline some common symptoms.

What is gradual hearing loss?

Gradual hearing loss commonly occurs as a result of aging. While some cases of hearing loss are linked to temporary problems, such as injuries and trauma, exposure to very loud noises or infections, most people who have hearing loss notice a gradual deterioration. Hearing loss can progress over a prolonged period, and many people don’t seek advice until they have significant symptoms of hearing loss.

Gradual hearing loss is often associated with damage to the highly sensitive hairs within the inner ear. Once these hairs are damaged, they cannot be repaired. If you experience gradual hearing loss, it’s always advisable to seek help from a hearing health professional. The sooner hearing loss is detected, the better the chances of successful treatment.

Common signs of gradual hearing loss include:

  • Turning the volume up on your radio or TV
  • Asking people to repeat themselves when you talk to them or speak on the telephone
  • Feeling like other people are talking quietly or mumbling
  • Struggling to follow conversations or hear clearly when there is background noise
  • Missing words or parts of sentences
  • Other people remarking that your music or TV is very loud

What can be done for gradual hearing loss?

There are various solutions and treatments for hearing loss. The type of treatment will depend on the severity of hearing loss and the underlying cause. If you experience gradual hearing loss and there is no clear cause, you may be advised to consider using hearing aids. Hearing aids are devices, which capture and amplify sounds to make it easier for you to hear. Modern hearing aids are discreet and they have a diverse range of settings and features. When you see a hearing care provider, they will explain the best options for you based on the results of your hearing assessments and your personal preferences.

Is it possible to prevent gradual hearing loss?

It is not always possible to prevent hearing loss, but there are often steps you can take to protect your hearing. The most important piece of advice is to try to minimize exposure to loud noises. If you live or work in a noisy environment, use earplugs or ear defenders. Keep the volume low on personal music players and avoid inserting foreign objects into the ear canal.

It’s also beneficial to seek advice from a hearing health professional if you notice signs of hearing loss.

Hearing loss can occur suddenly, but it is usually a gradual process. Many people find that their hearing deteriorates relatively slowly, often due to aging. If you start to find that it’s more difficult to hear people, or you’re turning the volume dial up higher on your TV, seek advice from a hearing specialist. It’s best to try and detect and address hearing loss as early as possible.