Sometimes your hearing suffers for relatively simple reasons. A perforated eardrum that’s gone unnoticed or even a buildup of earwax can cause temporary hearing issues. These will either resolve themselves or can be treated relatively easily. In other cases, it’s just a symptom of some underlying health condition that, when treated, clears up the hearing issue.

But that’s not always the case.

Some hearing issues are permanent. Treatment isn’t going to make them go away — only lessen the impact. And a hearing aid is usually what is required.

If some of the following symptoms are present, it may be time to schedule a visit with the hearing health professional:

• Talking on the phone is more and more difficult.
• Likewise, the volume on the TV or radio needs to be turned up higher than what everyone else requires.
• Conversations in which the other person is not in view — talking between rooms, for example — are a challenge.
• Other people seem to mumble a lot and have to be asked to repeat themselves.
• Hearing in crowded areas is problematic and taking part in conversations with multiple people is harder.

An exam by a professional audiologist can ascertain what is going on and what needs to be done. If a hearing aid is required, they can guide you through the process of figuring out what model will be best.

And if you or someone you know is under the age of 50, don’t assume a hearing aid is out of the question. Certain factors of modern life — urban noise, workplace exposure, loud music, and the use of earbuds — are all contributing to a rise of hearing issues earlier in life.