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Hearing Loss and You

Hearing loss can be gradual and typically occurs over many years.

In the early stages, it isn’t always obvious but can still impact on communication and quality of life.

Recognising Early Signs of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is not uncommon, with 1 out of every 3 people over the age of 60 experiencing hearing difficulties. With gradual hearing loss, it isn’t always obvious. In some cases, other people will actually notice the early signs of hearing loss before you do.

Typically, you will still have adequate volume, but the clarity isn’t what it used to be. Speech can sound a bit muffled and individual words and sounds are missed.

The issues are most evident in noisy places. watching movies on TV, and talking with a group of friends or family.

Consider some of the signs below.

Are children and females more difficult to understand?

Do you miss individual words and sounds in speech?

Do you have difficulty following conversation in noisy places

Are children and females more difficult to understand?

Do you require frequent repetition?

Have you noticed ringing, buzzing or whistling sounds in the ears (Tinnitus)

The changes are subtle, but they have a ripple effect, slowly  seeping into many aspects of daily life.

These may include:

  • Fatigue from the extra effort involved in listening
  • Social gatherings no longer seem fun and relaxing and may even be avoided
  • Shop assistants, family and friends are more impatient
  • Movies on TV require extra concentration
  • More self-conscious about missing important parts of the conversation or providing an incorrect response
  • Having to deal with stinging throw-away remarks such as “Dad, you’re going deaf”
  • Pressure from close family members to “do something”
  • Pressing concerns which may encompass performance at work, link between untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline, further deterioration in hearing levels
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Causes of Hearing Loss

The main causes of hearing loss are age, and exposure to loud noise. This leads to damage to the delicate hair cells in the inner ear.

Other causes can include:

  • A build up of wax
  • Ear infections
  • Otosclerosis (stiffening of bones in the middle ear)
  • Genetics
  • Some types of medications
  • Head injury
  • Some illnesses, such as Menieres disease

Types of Hearing Loss

Sensorineural Hearing Loss
This is caused by damage to the tiny hair cells in the inner ear and the hearing loss is usually permanent. The main causes are age, genetics and noise exposure.

Conductive Hearing Loss
This is caused by problems in the outer and middle ears which blocks the transmission of sound. Causes include wax, ear infections, or a hole in the ear drum. This loss can sometimes be treated by a Medical Practitioner.

Mixed Hearing Loss
A combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.

Tips for Managing Hearing Loss

Life can be challenging at the best of times. These tips should help make life a little easier if you are having some difficulties with your hearing.

• Visiting cafes and restaurants
• Business meetings
• Family gatherings
• Phone calls
• Watching television
• Around the house

Treatments for Hearing Loss

Treatment for hearing loss depends on the cause and type. Hence it is important to see an Audiologist to determine if you have a hearing loss and what can be done.  Addressing hearing loss sooner rather than later tends to result in the best long-term outcomes.

Management strategies may include:

  • Recommendation of wireless headphones for the TV
  • Discussion of listening strategies
  • Referral to an Ear Specialist for further investigation
  • Adjustments on the mobile phone – changing ring tone, using face-time, greater use of text
  • Trial of hearing aids

If you or a loved one is experiencing any signs, and want to investigate if there is a hearing loss, we recommend either:

Taking our free
online hearing test 

OR

Making an appointment
with one of our Audiologists