Signs Of Hearing Loss

The Royal National Institute for the Deaf

It's important to spot hearing loss as soon as possible, because treatment is often more beneficial if started early.

What are the signs of hearing loss?

Hearing loss can sometimes be sudden, but often it's gradual and you may not notice it at first. Being aware of the early signs can help you identify the problem quickly and be the first step towards getting treatment for your condition.

If you think you have hearing loss or if someone else has concerns about your hearing, ask yourself:

  • Do you turn up the TV louder than your family wants it?
  • Do you find it hard to follow conversation in pubs and restaurants?
  • Do you struggle to hear on the phone?
  • Do you often ask people to repeat what they say?
  • Does your partner complain that you don’t listen to them?
  • Do you find others mumble?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, take our quick and easy hearing check and make an appointment to see your GP.

If you also hear a ringing, buzzing or whistling sound in your ears, this could be a sign of tinnitus, which is often associated with hearing loss.

What should I do if I have signs of hearing loss?

You can take our hearing check. If it suggests you have hearing loss, we’ll send you a statement of the results that you can take along to your GP – this might make it easier for you to get a referral to an audiologist (hearing specialist) for further tests. We always recommend you see your GP first so they can check for a temporary cause of your hearing loss, such as a build-up of wax.

You'll find more information in our section hearing loss and deafness. You can also contact our information line.

What are the signs of hearing loss in babies and children?

You should see always see your GP if you notice that your baby, toddler or child has signs of hearing loss.

Your baby or toddler may have hearing loss if they:

  • aren't startled by loud noises
  • don't turn towards the source of a sound while under four months old
  • doesn’t say single words by the time they're one year old
  • notice you when they see you, but not when you call their name
  • appear to hear some sounds but not others.

Your older child may have hearing loss if they:

  • are slow to learn to talk, or they're not clear when they speak
  • often ask you to repeat yourself or respond inappropriately to a question
  • don't reply when you call them
  • often talk very loudly
  • often turn up the volume of the TV so it's very loud
  • watch other people to copy instructions, because they haven't heard.

Useful resources

Give your staff the confidence and skills they need to communicate with colleagues and...
Open and inclusive environments offering a wide range of activities to suit everyone. Our...
If you think your hearing is gradually getting worse, it’s best to get it tested. You can...
RNID local information service can help with: Local information Signposting to other...
Give your staff the confidence and skills they need to communicate with colleagues and...
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak means we’ve paused our face-to-face appointments, but...
We offer 3 different types of remote BSL training courses to help you and your staff...
We are specialists in providing supported housing and living services to people who are...
If you are deaf or have hearing loss and need support to develop your skills and find...
If you are deaf or have hearing loss or tinnitus and work 10 hours a week or more, our...
Give your staff the confidence and skills they need to communicate with colleagues and...
Our hearing aid support service helps people get the most out of their NHS hearing aids...
Check your hearing