Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is relatively common in the UK, affecting 1 in 7 adults. Hearing loss affects all ages, with some being affected from birth, whilst others experience it later in life. Those who have been exposed to loud noise, have diabetes or heart and circulatory problems, or a family history of hearing loss are at a greater risk.

Hearing loss usually occurs gradually, and can affect certain frequencies more than others.The result of this is that hearing loss can remain undetected for many years. It is often family and friends who become aware of a persons’ hearing loss before the individual themselves. This can be both heartbreaking and frustrating for all those affected.

In some cases, permanent hearing loss can be incurred after the exposure to certain sounds in as little as 15 minutes. However, unprotected exposure to sounds above 90dB can result in hearing loss almost instantly.

Hearing loss can be an incredibly emotional experience. A person’s mental health can be hugely affected. For those suffering with hearing loss it is not uncommon to experience feelings of loneliness and frustration which can result in anger, depression and a loss of confidence.

Adults with a hearing loss typically find communication increasingly challenging and the increased focus on trying to listen can be exhausting. People with a hearing loss may also start to further isolate themselves from social situations to avoid the embarrassment of not being able to hear and partake in conversation.

Children can also be affected by hearing loss, which can often affect their development. They can feel very frustrated when trying to communicate and find it difficult to interact with family members and other children. A hearing loss in children can also lead to poor speech development.

Hearing loss can be incredibly complex so therefore every solution is unique. A Hearing Healthcare Professional can treat many hearing problems. However, this can be challenging if a hearing loss has been neglected for a long period of time. It is important to treat your ears with care and get your hearing tested annually to ensure your hearing is where it should be. If it has started to decline, then your Hearing Healthcare Professional can assist you with further treatment and solutions.

Types of hearing loss

There are three types of hearing loss; conductive, sensorineural and mixed.

Conductive hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs when external sounds are prevented from reaching the inner ear. This can occur if there is a blockage in the ear canal for example as a result of ear wax or an infection preventing sound from reaching the ear drum. If the eardrum is damaged, such as through a perforation then sound can not reach the inner ear. This is also the case if there is an issue with the middle ear, such as fluid caused by a cold or sinus problem. In rare cases, Otosclerosis or benign tumours can play a part in preventing the usual transmission of sound to the inner ear.

Sensorineural hearing loss

Being the most common type of hearing loss, this results when there is a problem with the inner ear. The inner ear consists of the vestibular system which aids balance, and the cochlea. The cochlea works with the auditory nerve to transmit sound to the brain. The cochlea is made up of tiny hair cells which transition mechanical sound energy into electrical energy, which is then passed onto the auditory nerve. Different hair cells collect different frequencies of sound.

These tiny hair cells typically become damaged as we age, however they can also be damaged from birth. The delicate hair cells can also be damaged by ototoxic medication and infections along with prolonged exposure to loud sound, or even a one-off experience of loud noise such as a bomb blast.

In some cases, the cochlear nerve can be responsible for a sensorineural hearing loss, and this is usually due to a neurological disorder such as Friedreich’s Ataxia or Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

Mixed hearing loss

As the name suggests, this occurs when there is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. This type of loss has many causes which include; infections, tumours, head trauma, birth conditions and excessive noise.

Symptoms of Hearing Loss:

  • Difficulty in understanding what other people are saying, particularly in background noise or a group.
  • Muffled or reduced hearing.
  • Require frequent repetition of speech.
  • Struggling with clarity of speech, missing the beginnings and endings of words.
  • Watching TV or listening to radio at a high volume
  • Anxiety, avoiding social situations and conversation
  • Depression; as hearing loss develops this can cause feelings of isolation and despair.
  • Tinnitus (Ringing, buzzing, whooshing or hissing in the ears)

5 Steps to Better Hearing:

  1. Have your hearing checked annually.
  2. Educate yourself on your hearing loss and work with your chosen hearing healthcare professional to find the best solution for you.
  3. Stay positive. The success of hearing aids is hugely influenced by your attitude when it comes to your desire to learn and determination in hearing better.
  4. Set realistic expectations. Hearing aids will improve your quality of life and your hearing, however they cannot restore your hearing completely.
  5. Practice, Patience and Time. Hearing well again is a journey that takes time and effort. However, it is an investment into your quality of life and your future so persevere and you will see results. The more you wear your hearing aids, the better your experience will be.

Many people know that they have hearing difficulties but wait for years to do something about it. Don’t delay. Book in for an appointment and find out how we can help you today.

Talk To An Expert Now

Your hearing is one of the most precious abilities you possess, and losing it can be life changing. contact us today and see how The Hearing Clinic Henley can help you.

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