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Hearing Loss | Symptoms and Causes.

Hearing loss is a common problem and often comes with age or is caused by recurring exposure to loud noises. It is estimated that there are more than 10 million people in the UK with some degree of hearing loss and they are oblivious of it as it has become part of there everyday life. It’s very common for hearing loss to happen progressively over time. The overall signs of hearing loss include trouble hearing other people when they are talking clearly and misinterpreting what they are saying, questioning people and asking them to repeat themselves continuously, and listening to music or watching TV with the volume turned up higher than other people would consider necessary.

Why does hearing loss happen

Hearing loss is a result of sound signals not reaching the brain, there are two main types of hearing loss, these are:

Sensorineural hearing loss – this is triggered by damage to sensitive hair cells inside the inner ear or damage to the auditory nerve, this is usually something that happens naturally with age, or can be caused by injury.

Conductive hearing loss – when noises are unable to pass from your external ear to your internal ear, this is regularly because of a blockage such as earwax or build-up of liquid from an ear-infection or it could be because of a punctured eardrum or disorder of the hearing bones.

It is likely that you can have both of these types of hearing loss. This is known as mixed hearing loss. Some people can be born with this type of hearing impairment.

Preventing hearing loss

The ears are very fragile but yet very vital to our everyday lives, the eardrum can be damaged in many ways, therefore, it’s not always possible to avoid hearing loss. The noises in everyday life could be affecting you over time, research has found that continued exposure to sounds like lawnmowers or loud traffic can cause hearing loss. To prevent/ reduce the risk of you developing hearing loss there are a few things you can change in your daily routine such as:

Don’t have the TV or radio too loud, this is particularly significant if you do have young children in the house because their ears are more sensitive than an adult. You shouldn’t have dull hearing or ringing ears after listening to music.

Use a headphone to block out the outside noise rather than turning up the volume. You can buy add-ons for your current earphones that block out more outside sound or noise cancelling headphones.

Use ear protection such as ear defenders or ear plugs if you work in a noisy setting such as a garage, workshop or building site.

Treating hearing loss

Depending on how severe the hearing loss is it can differ on how it will be treated, some of the options are:

Digital hearing aids – which are obtainable through the NHS

Bone-anchored implants – appropriate for people who are unable to use hearing aids

Middle ear implants – suitable for some individuals who are unable to use hearing aids

Cochlear implants – for people who find hearing aids aren’t powerful enough

Lip reading or sign language – this can be found on the internet as British Sign Language or there are sessions that can be held at your local GP to help you get to grips with the basics.

For everything you need to know about hearing loss read the above guide, for our expert advice feel free to get in touch.

Doctor audiologist holding hearing aid in his hand