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Signs of hearing loss

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

If you’ve suddenly lost hearing in one or both ears, contact NHS 111 or your GP urgently. You could also visit your nearest urgent treatment centre.

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.

Signs of gradual hearing loss

The common signs that you might have hearing loss:

  • turning the TV up louder than others want it
  • finding it hard to follow conversation in pubs and restaurants
  • 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.

If you recognise any of these signs, we recommend using our online hearing check. It’s proven to be a quick and effective way to check your overall hearing.

If the online hearing check shows you have signs of hearing loss, you’ll get a letter to take to your GP, which explains the result.

The only way hearing loss can be confirmed is through a full hearing test. An audiologist (hearing specialist) will examine your ears, diagnose any hearing loss and discuss your treatment options with you.

Find out more about getting your hearing tested.

While you wait for your hearing test

To make conversations easier, try following our communication tips.

Technology and assistive devices for people with hearing loss can help in situations you find difficult – whether that’s chatting in a busy room or listening to the TV.

If you would like more guidance and support, contact us.

If you hear sounds in your ears or head

If you also hear sounds like ringing, whistling or whooshing inside your head or ears, this could be tinnitus. Tinnitus is often, but not always, linked to hearing loss.

Find out more about tinnitus.

Page last updated: 18 December 2023

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