Signs of hearing loss in adults

Don’t ignore the signs of hearing loss. Know what to look for and understand what it means.

Adult recipient enjoying his BBQ with his family

What you'll find on this page

  • The signs of hearing loss.
  • Why it's important to take action.
  • How to take the next step.

Hearing loss can be sudden or gradual and the signs are not always obvious. Think about the statements below to see if you have any of the common symptoms.

Signs that you may have hearing loss

While talking with others

  • You strain to hear or struggle to keep up with conversations.

  • You find it difficult to hear amongst background noise.

  • You often ask people to repeat what they've said.

  • You mishear what people say.

  • You agree or nod during conversations when you're not sure what's being said.

  • You withdraw from conversations because it's too difficult to hear.

  • You read lips to understand what people are saying.

  • You feel people are mumbling when they talk.

While doing everyday activities

  • It's difficult to hear on the phone.

  • You turn up the volume on the TV or radio louder than others in the room prefer.

  • You can't hear the sounds of nature, such as rain falling or birds chirping.

When you're alone

  • There is a persistent ringing or buzzing sound in your ear.

  • It's hard to hear on one side.

  • It's difficult to tell where sounds are coming from.

  • Your voice sounds different.

  • You feel pain or pressure in one or both ears.

What's the next step?

If you see yourself in any of these scenarios, you should get your hearing tested by a hearing health professional.

Why it's important to take action on hearing loss

Losing your hearing may seem like a part of ageing that's unavoidable, but there are ways to help improve your hearing, even when hearing aids no longer work.

Research shows a link between hearing loss and loneliness, depression and dementia.1,2 That's why if you think you have hearing loss, it's important you take action as soon as possible. Ignoring the signs can affect more than just your ability to hear.

"My wife and I are very social. We go out, we dance, we go to karaoke nights, dinner with friends, we go to dinner alone, and enjoy each other. But I was losing that and I couldn't understand."

- Bob K, Cochlear™ Nucleus® recipient


Please seek advice from your health professional about treatments for hearing loss. Outcomes may vary, and your health professional will advise you about the factors which could affect your outcome. Always read the instructions for use. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative for product information.

Views expressed are those of the individual. Consult your health professional to determine if you are a candidate for Cochlear technology.

For a full list of Cochlear’s trademarks, please visit our Terms of Use page.


  1. Contrera K, Sung Y, Betz J, Li L, Lin F. Change in loneliness after intervention with cochlear implants or hearing aids. The Laryngoscope. 2017;127(8):1885-1889.

  2. Rutherford B, Brewster K, Golub J, Kim A, Roose S. Sensation and Psychiatry: Linking Age-Related Hearing Loss to Late-Life Depression and Cognitive Decline. American Journal of Psychiatry. 2018;175(3):215-224.