Could You Have Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss can affect anyone – no matter what their age, lifestyle or occupation. So, it’s important to know what the most common signs are, the causes and what you should do when you start to notice them. There are two main types of hearing loss:
- Conductive: This happens as a result of a blockage (such as earwax), which makes sounds seem muffled and quieter. When you are experiencing conductive hearing loss, sounds will not be able to pass from your outer to your inner ear.
- Sensorineural: This type of hearing loss can be caused by damage to the hearing nerve or damage to the collection of hair cells which are inside your inner ear. It will reduce the quality of the sounds around you and will make them a lot quieter. This type of hearing loss is permanent and can be assisted using a variety of treatments that are mentioned below.
As soon as you start to notice these symptoms, it is time to visit an audiologist:
- You are struggling to hear/understand conversations
- You can’t hear high-pitched sounds
- You have to turn up your music/television
- You can’t hear when someone is calling your name
- You frequently misunderstand what people say
- You frequently get told that you are talking too loudly
The following causes can result in either temporary or permanent hearing loss. It is imperative that you try to keep good hearing health and protect yourself from long exposure to loud sounds.
- Fluid in the ear
- Meniere’s Disease
- An ear infection/build-up of earwax
- Tinnitus (which causes a ringing in your ears)
- Aging (presbycusis)
- As a result of taking ototoxic drugs
- Viral infections (such as mumps and/or measles)
If you work within a high-risk and hazardous workplace, the chances of hearing loss are more likely. For example, those working within construction that have long exposures to loud drills and diggers have a higher chance of having hearing loss in later life. If you have this type of occupation, it is important that you take the appropriate safety measures.
Hearing loss can sometimes be temporary, resulting in your hearing coming back over time. If it is a result of earwax or a foreign object in the ear, the treatment will usually include a simple procedure to remove it or you will have to take eardrops – the treatment that is most suitable for you will be decided by your audiologist upon your initial consultation with them. However, if your hearing loss is permanent, the following treatment might be suitable:
- Hearing aids: The type which is most suitable for your requirements will be decided by your audiologist.
It is vital that you monitor any changes in your hearing and make a note of when you start to notice any potential signs of hearing loss. It is better to go to the audiologist at the start before further treatment is required in the future.