Hearing loss overview
What is hearing loss?
Although there are a number of different types of hearing loss and many causes, the symptoms are usually similar irrespective of the type or cause. Some of the preliminary signs of hearing loss that we usually see are:
- The sense that other people are mumbling.
- Difficulty following a conversation when two or more individuals are talking simultaneously.
- A sense of imbalance or dizziness.
- Listening difficulties in noisy settings (e.g. sports arenas, busy restaurants, building sites).
- Difficulty understanding the voices of women or children.
- Constantly ringing ears (tinnitus).
- Certain consonant sounds (e.g. the "s" or "th" sound) are tough to hear when other people are talking.
types of hearing loss
Hearing loss develops when sound signals are unable to reach the brain. There are two main types of hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most prevalent form of hearing loss in our patients. This is a lasting hearing loss where the small hair cells in the inner ear or the hearing nerve itself are damaged, which weakens the transmission of sound signals to the brain.
From time to time, we also come across a hearing loss from blockages or fluid build-up. This is called conductive hearing loss. Excessive earwax, ear infections, perforated ear bumps or hearing damage can stop your inner ear from receiving sounds from your external ear.
Causes of hearing loss
age-related hearing loss
The biggest cause is called age-related hearing loss. You will encounter a number of changes in how your body works as you grow older. One of these shifts could be hearing loss. Hearing loss as a result of aging is common to many older adults. It is experienced in almost 1 in 2 adults over the age of 65. Most individuals develop hearing loss as they get older do this because the small hair cells in the internal ear become worn from years of use.
Noise-induced hearing loss
Noise-induced hearing loss is also a common cause of hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss is a permanent form of hearing loss resulting from lengthy periods of exposure to loud noise. Noise-induced hearing loss can also happen after you are subjected to loud noise in a short time, such as a gunshot or explosion. As you surround yourself with noise, the more likely you are to lose your hearing.
The loudness, the pitch and the length of time you are subjected to the noise will have an impact on the damage to your hearing. The louder the noise, the shorter amount of time it takes to experience the harmful effects.
Effects of untreated hearing loss
Hearing loss may have a number of effects which depend on the person and his or her specific form of hearing loss. The most frequent effect is that individuals are less able to understand others, especially in loud environments. This can affect how you communicate with friends and family, make it hard to learn new things or do your job effectively.
Hearing loss which is left untreated can also cause adverse effects that go beyond the hearing impairment itself. This can include a reduced quality of life and a host of mental, emotional and physical conditions. Headache, muscle tension and elevated stress and blood pressure may be some potential health effects from hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss has also been related to depression and physical and mental exhaustion.
hearing loss treatment
Sensorineural hearing loss is irreversible and because the lost hearing cannot be recovered, hearing aids are the most commonly used for those who suffer from the condition. They are available in a range of styles and price points depending on the features you are looking for. Hearing aids are intended to enhance certain frequencies of sound. While they don't restore hearing per se, they enhance your overall hearing ability, train your brain how to process certain sounds again, and make it easier for you to communicate.