Common Hearing Complaints (Part Two)

Dear Reader, this blog is the second segment of a two-part series examining universal hearing complaints made by those experiencing hearing related issues. It has been written in the hopes of voicing common experiences of those who struggle with communication on a daily because of their hearing. Due to the fact that there are three very common general complaints most commonly associated with hearing loss and two other complaints related to a very specific hearing issue, I have decided to write on this topic in two parts. This blog post looks at the last two complaints related to a specific type of hearing issue that is very commonly heard from my patients when they come in to see me.

The Maladies of Hearing; Common Hearing Complaints (Part Two):

When I talk to my patients about the specific hearing issues they have, they may mention the common complaints of not being able to hear in certain situations or hearing certain people. But every so often, I get a completely different set of complaints that, although they are also very common, are very different from the issues I described in part one of this series. What makes these problems different in nature is the fact that it is not perceived as a lack of hearing. These voiced symptoms don’t appear to be a by-product of the hearing loss. To them, it seems to be hearing related, but almost as if the patient’s hearing is overstimulated. These two issues are as follows in no particular order:

“I can’t stand loud sounds”

Once in a while. I will have a patient come in and report that the main hearing issue is the loudness of sounds. “Every time I hear construction outside I just can’t stand the noise” or “There are times when I have to turn the television or music down because the sounds are a nuisance.” Within the hearing clinic, there is a loudness test that may be conducted to uncover whether the patient is overly sensitive to loud sounds when compared to the normal hearing listener. Solutions for what we refer to as abnormal loudness sensitivity can vary from using hearing protectors when sounds reach a dangerous hearing level, or the use of acoustically filtered devices that only reduce certain bothersome sounds while still being able to hear. In order to find the solution that is right for you, it is advisable to consult a trusted hearing healthcare professional.

“There’s a ringing or buzzing in my ear”

Very often I find patients reporting a ringing or buzzing sensation in one or both ears “I hear a noise in my ear, a constant hum, especially when it’s quiet.” or “There’s a buzzing sound that seems to be coming from my ear and it gets in the way when I’m trying to listen to others”. This sensation, otherwise known as tinnitus, is a type of internal noise perceived by the individual and is a very common issue directly associated with hearing loss. The root cause for the majority of tinnitus cases (roughly 80%) are identified as hearing loss or hearing damage related. In fact, for 60-90% of those cases, shortly after treating the hearing loss itself, the tinnitus symptoms are reported to have been reduced if not completely eliminated. So, although, the sensation of tinnitus may not be identified as a hearing difficulty, the key to the solution lies in treating the hearing loss and re-stimulating the auditory nerve. Again, in order to identify which solution is right for you, we advise you to consult with a hearing healthcare professional that offers specialized services for tinnitus-related symptoms.

Maybe your specific hearing complaint or the hearing malady of someone you know wasn’t mentioned in this blog. But there just might be a solution to the problem that you weren’t aware of before. One way of finding out is by visiting a hearing clinic dedicated to providing client-centered care.

Mitra Mehra
Audiologist Reg. CASLPO. M.Cl.Sc. Aud (c)

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