Hearing Loss

 

What is hearing loss?

It is easy to take for granted how important your hearing is to how you perceive the world around you, until you begin to struggle to hear. From chatting with your family, to listening to music, playing sports and driving, your hearing factors into almost everything you do. Due to this, hearing loss can be quite confronting, whether it be losing a small amount of your hearing over time, or having your hearing deteriorate dramatically and quickly.

Hearing loss can occur due to an accident, brain injury, exposure to loud noise, coming into contact with chemicals or drugs or can simply happen as you age. Hearing loss is the result of something not working as it should, either within your ear or the hearing section of your brain. If you’re experiencing hearing loss, you may be simply having some trouble hearing everything that happens around you, or you may not be able to hear anything at all. Sounds could be muffled or no longer as clear as they once were, and this can force you to find other ways to fully understand interactions with the people around you, such as lip reading or relying on body language.

If you think you may be experiencing hearing loss, book a hearing test now.

Types of hearing loss

Your hearing can be lost instantly, in accidents or if there is damage caused to your brain, or it can deteriorate slowly over time. There are two main types of hearing loss.

Conductive hearing loss: Conductive hearing loss is a mechanical issue, occurring when sound isn’t correctly conducted from the world around you through to your middle ear which then sends these sounds on to your brain. The loss of sound wave conduction can be caused by any part of the soundwave’s journey, from the external ear, encompassing the ear canal to the middle ear, which is made up of the tympanic membrane (eardrum) and ossicles (small bones behind the ear drum). Conductive hearing loss often means that the sufferer can only hear sounds faintly or experiences diminished sound levels. Conductive hearing loss can often be remedied with medical or surgical intervention.

Sensorineural hearing loss: The transmission of sound waves from the outside world to your middle ear may be working perfectly, however you may have problems sending these messages from your ear to your brain. This is known as sensorineural hearing loss. Previously referred to as “nerve deafness”, sensorineural hearing loss is usually a problem caused by your inner ear (your cochlear and associated organs) but can also be caused by the nerve which runs to the hearing center of your brain, the vestibulocochlear nerve. Sensorineural hearing loss can mean that sounds appear loud enough however, you may still have trouble understanding what they mean. You can be affected in either one or both of your ears by sensorineural hearing loss. In most cases the introduction of hearing devices is the best course of action for sensorineural hearing loss. In the case of profound hearing loss, a cochlear implant may be required.

A comprehensive hearing test is the only way to confirm the type and extent of your hearing loss.

If you feel you may be experiencing some degree of hearing loss, take our online hearing test now.

Signs of hearing loss

While hearing loss can come about immediately or gradually, there are a range of symptoms which may indicate you are experiencing a diminishing ability to hear clearly, these include:

  • Family and friends have suggested you may be having problems hearing them
  • You have difficulty understanding what people are saying to you
  • You have been exposed to loud noises regularly throughout your life
  • You are always asking people to repeat themselves
  • You have trouble understanding the direction sounds come from
  • You find yourself lip reading
  • Your television or radio is at full volume/high volume but you still have trouble hearing it
  • Background noise makes conversations difficult
  • You feel that everyone mumbles around you
  • You feel left out of conversations
  • You miss the doorbell or telephone ringing
  • You find higher pitched voices harder to hear e.g. children’s voices
  • Soft sounds are particularly difficult to hear

Find out more about the causes of hearing loss here.

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