Signs of hearing loss
Sometimes it’s obvious – at times, you may not hear what people are saying to you. Other signs that you may be suffering from hearing loss are that you:
- have troubles hearing in noisy places
- have trouble understanding what people say
- have trouble following conversations
- have trouble understanding people unless they are facing you, you often ask people to repeat themselves
- hear sounds as muffled, people are mumbling
- have the TV up louder than other people
- often miss your phone or doorbell ringing
- there is a constant buzzing or ringing in your ears
- loud noises cause you more discomfort than before
Causes and Treatment of hearing loss
Nearly everybody finds their hearing gets worse as they get older. Genetics play a part – some families have hearing problems earlier than other families.
Some people have their hearing damaged through many years of being exposed to noise at work. This is especially true for people who work among a lot of loud noise such as live music performances, mining, building or farming. Young people who listen to loud music through headphones are also at risk.
Other causes include:
- an ear infection, or repeated ear infections
- a head injury
- exposure to certain chemicals or medications like aspirin, some antibiotics and some cancer drugs
Most people can’t have their hearing loss reversed, but there are treatments available to help you hear better including:
- hearing aids
- cochlear implants
Types of hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is a type of hearing loss, or deafness, in which the root cause lies in the inner ear or sensory organ (cochlea and associated structures) or the vestibulocochlear nerve (cranial nerve VIII).
Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a problem conducting sound waves anywhere along the route through the outer ear, tympanic membrane (eardrum), or middle ear (ossicles). This type of hearing loss may occur in conjunction with sensorineural hearing loss (mixed hearing loss) or alone.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, which means there is damage in both the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear. This type of hearing loss ranges in severity from mild to profound.
Tinnitus is a physical condition, experienced as noises or ringing in the ears or head when no such external physical noise is present. Tinnitus is usually caused by a fault in the hearing system; it is a symptom, not a disease in itself.
Do see your doctor and have your hearing checked by an audiologist (hearing scientist). Some audiologists run specialist tinnitus clinics to help you manage your tinnitus and they fit hearing aids and/or therapeutic noise generators if needed. Some people may require a referral to an ENT specialist. There may be a TREATABLE medical cause.
Once your hearing is damaged, it’s gone for good. That’s why we raise awareness about the prevalence of hearing loss, the importance of early diagnosis, and the options for taking action to find the best hearing solution for your needs. Don’t wait until it’s too late to start taking care of your ears!
Here are nine easy ways to protect your ears and your hearing health:
- Use earplugs around loud noises
- Turn the volume down
- Give your ears time to recover after exposed to loud sounds
- Stop using cotton swabs in your ears
- Take medications only as directed
- Keep your ears dry
- Get up and move – Exercise
- Manage stress levels
- Get regular checkups