Hearing Loss: 4 Signs You Should Consult an Otolaryngologist

Hearing loss can have serious consequences on communication and overall well-being. Find out how early diagnosis can prevent further complications.
Hearing Loss: 4 Signs You Should Consult an Otolaryngologist

Last update: 14 August, 2023

Hearing health is a fundamental aspect of our quality of life. Early consultation with an otolaryngologist can help you diagnose and treat a wide range of ear, nose, and throat problems. Keep reading to learn to recognize the warning signs that require the attention of these professionals.

According to information from the World Health Organization (WHO), it’s estimated that more than 5% of the world’s population requires specialized medical care to treat their hearing difficulties. In addition, by 2050, 1 in 10 people will have disabling hearing loss. These conditions can be mild, moderate, severe, or profound and affect one or both ears.

Signs that you should see an otolaryngologist

Hearing challenges can arise gradually or suddenly, interfering with your interaction with the world around you. At such times, it’s comforting to know that there are hearing experts near you who are ready to lend their knowledge and experience to address any problems that may arise.

Here are some symptoms that indicate that you should see an otolaryngologist.

You may also like to read: Hearing Loss: Symptoms and Treatment

1. Difficulty listening to conversations

Hearing aids
A medical expert can prescribe the perfect hearing aids for your level of hearing loss.

Having trouble hearing is normally one of the most obvious signs that something’s wrong and it’s time to seek specialized care. If you’ve noticed that you can’t hear conversations or need to turn up the volume on the TV or radio, this could indicate a problem with your hearing.

Otolaryngologists can perform extensive testing to determine the cause and degree of hearing loss. From selecting appropriate hearing aids to exploring more advanced treatment options (such as cochlear implants), these experts can provide you with the solutions you need to help you hear better.

Hearing loss has a significant impact on quality of life, affecting the ability to communicate with others and participate in social activities, especially for older adults. A study from the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery suggests that hearing difficulties among elderly persons may be related to loneliness and social isolation.

2. The sensation of clogged or sore ears

Although in most cases these symptoms are caused by temporary problems, such as cerumen occlusion or changes in atmospheric pressure, they can also be a sign of an underlying hearing loss that requires medical attention.

Treatment depends on the cause of the discomfort, but usually includes professional cleaning of earwax in the ear canal. Also, the professional may opt for the administration of antibiotics or other medications to treat infections and the application of pressure relief techniques, among others.

Keep in mind that ignoring the sensation of ear pain could lead to long-term complications, such as irreversible hearing damage or recurrent infections. Seeking early medical attention can prevent major problems, so take care of your health.

3. Ringing or buzzing in your ears

Hearing check
Living with constant ringing in the ear isn’t normal, and professional help should be sought immediately.

Tinnitus is an auditory signal that manifests itself as ringing, buzzing, or other sounds in the ears without an external source. This phenomenon can be more than a simple annoyance and, in many cases, is related to other hearing problems.

Research published in Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America reports that 10-20% of the world’s population suffers from tinnitus and its incidence increases with age. This annoying ringing can lead to feelings of frustration, insomnia, cognitive dysfunction, anxiety, and depression. Seeking medical help can lead to a timely diagnosis.

You might be interested in: What Are the Causes of Tinnitus?

4. Problems hearing in quiet environments

Experiencing difficulty hearing in situations without background noise can be an early manifestation of hearing loss that shouldn’t be overlooked. People with some form of deafness need to ask others to repeat themselves or feel left out in situations where they don’t hear clearly.

These problems may be related to conductive, sensorineural, or sensory hearing loss. In the latter, the small receptors in the inner ear may be damaged, while conductive hearing loss is due to obstructions in the middle ear. Sensorineural hearing loss is a combination of both.

Seeing an otolaryngologist can improve your quality of life

Otolaryngology plays a crucial role in maintaining our overall health. Consequently, recognizing and addressing early indicators of potential problems that warrant specialized attention will have a significant impact on the prevention and management of more serious conditions in the future.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.