About Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is not uncommon
More than 500 million people worldwide suffer from some degree of hearing loss. You might be one of them. If you are, a hearing aid can help you regain your hearing so you can live the life you’re used to.
- Signs and Symptoms
- Types and causes of hearing loss
- What does hearing loss mean?
- Treating hearing loss
- What can I do?
Have the birds stopped singing?
Everyday sounds are part of life’s most meaningful experiences. Are you having difficulty hearing the sound of a purring cat? Or the crisp crunch of snow under your boot on a cold winter morning? Or birds singing in your garden?
If so, there’s a chance you have hearing loss.
Hearing loss usually develops gradually – so gradually that you don’t notice the loss of these subtle everyday sounds. Before you know it, you could start missing the important sounds in your everyday life, such as the voices of loved ones..
Of course, you may not think your hearing loss is severe enough to worry about. But however mild your hearing loss might be, you’ll find that your life will greatly improve by doing something about the problem.
There are many kinds of hearing loss, but most fall into two categories: sensorineural or conductive .
Sensorineural hearing loss
This is the most common type of hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the tiny hair cells in the ear that help transmit sound to your brain. These can bend or break due to:
Exposure to very loud noises
Virus infections in the inner ear
Certain medical treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation
The effects are almost always the same – it becomes harder to distinguish speech from noise, certain high-pitched sounds such as birdsong disappear altogether, people seem to be mumbling and you often have to ask them to repeat themselves.
Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and can’t be corrected medically, but a hearing aid can almost always help.
Conductive hearing loss
This is caused by any blockage that prevents sound reaching the inner ear. This might include:
A build-up of earwax
Fluid in the middle ear
Unusual bone growth in the middle ear
Middle ear infections
Small holes in the eardrum
Conductive hearing loss is not necessarily permanent and can often be corrected medically or surgically.
Mixed hearing loss
It is possible that you may suffer from both types of hearing loss. This condition is called mixed hearing loss . Mixed hearing loss can be helped with surgery and a hearing aid.
Your hearing is measured in a scale of decibels (dB) compared to ‘normal’ hearing. This scale is used to evaluate whether you have hearing loss, and if so, to what degree.
During your hearing examination, your hearing care professional will test your hearing and present the results in an audiogram (see below).
Levels of hearing loss
This scale shows different levels of hearing loss (HL).
Normal hearing (<25dB HL)
Mild (26-40dB HL)
You have trouble hearing or understanding soft speech and whispers, or speech over background noise
Moderate (41-55 dB HL)
You have trouble hearing or understanding regular speech up close or regular speech in a quiet office environment
Moderately severe (56-70 dB HL)
You have trouble hearing or understanding everyday conversations or a telephone ringing
Severe (71-90 dB HL)
You can only hear loud sounds such as very loud speech, sirens or a door slamming
Profound (90+ dB HL)
You have trouble hearing sounds such as a motorbike or power tools
This is a typical audiogram for a person with normal hearing:
Wearing a hearing aid means rediscovering the pleasure of gathering with friends and family, feeling more confident at work, and enjoying films, music and TV programs. A hearing aid means living with all of your five senses again.
No reason to wait
Delaying tough decisions is a natural reaction, but confronting hearing loss quickly will make it easier to deal with. The longer you leave it, the harder it is for your brain to comprehend certain sounds because it no longer hears them every day.
A hearing aid prevents this deterioration of your ability to relearn to interpret sounds.
Modern hearing aids are discreet
Today’s hearing instruments are as small, comfortable and attractive as they are powerful and they have limited impact on your appearance. In fact, most people won’t even notice that you’re wearing one.
Take the first step
The first step towards treating your hearing loss is to visit us at one of our many locations.
If you think you may have hearing loss, the first step is to stop in to one of our many locations for a hearing test. The test will reveal whether you have hearing loss and what type it is.
If you have a hearing loss
Should the test diagnose you with a hearing loss or tinnitus, we will let you whether it can be treated with a hearing instrument, and if so, which type of hearing instrument that suits you best.
And if your we suspects you have conductive hearing loss, you’ll be referred to an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor for further examination.