Hearing Loss Information & Guide
Hearing loss is the third most common chronic illness in elders and nearly 1 out of 4 adults report having experienced some hearing loss. The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss which includes age-related and noise-induced hearing loss, but it is not the only type of hearing loss.
There are many things that can cause hearing loss throughout your life and it is important to know the signs of hearing loss. Most often it is friends or family that first notice the signs of hearing loss in their loved ones and the individual with hearing loss notices the signs later.
TYPES OF HEARING LOSS
There are three main types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive and mixed hearing loss. Below is some information on the types of hearing loss and how they can be treated.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the root cause of hearing loss lies in the inner ear. It can be treated with hearing aids.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs when the root cause of hearing loss lies in the outer ear or middle ear. It can often be treated medically or surgically.
Mixed Hearing Loss
Mixed hearing loss occurs when both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss are both present in one of the ears. It can be treated with hearing aids as well as medically or surgically.
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, are noises that you hear in your ears that have no external source. Tinnitus is not a disease, but is often a sign of an underlying condition. There are different treatments like masking devices or tinnitus retraining therapy available to help reduce the noises.
DEGREES OF HEARING LOSS
In addition to the types of hearing loss you also lose your hearing to a specific degree. Hearing loss is measured in decibels and hearing healthcare professionals use the terms normal, mild, moderate, severe and profound to refer to an average decibel level of hearing loss present.
- Normal (0-20dB): You can hear most sounds in all situations.
- Mild (21-40dB): You may hear well in one-on-one conversations, but will miss some sounds and speech when the speaker is quiet or in noisy situations.
- Moderate (41-70dB): You may miss many noises, mishear parts of the conversation or ask others to repeat themselves.
- Severe (71-90dB): You may miss a majority of conversations and noises as well as have a difficult time speaking over the phone.
- Profound (91+dB): You can not hear sounds even when they are very loud.
DO I HAVE HEARING LOSS?
Think you or a loved one may be experiencing hearing loss? Hearing loss often develops slowly over time, so it is important to know the signs of hearing loss; if the signs go undetected the person with hearing loss may feel depressed over time. If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may be experiencing hearing loss.
- Have you worked in a noisy environment? Or participate in a noisy/loud hobby or activity?
- Do you feel you must turn up the TV?
- Do you hear softer sounds like footsteps, keyboard clicks or birds chirping?
- Do you have trouble hearing children or women’s voices?
- When you’re in a social setting, do you hear others clearly?
- When you chat with people face-to-face, do you have to focus carefully?
- Has anybody ever mentioned to you that you might have a problem with your hearing?
What To Do Next?
If you think you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss or answered yes to any of the questions listed above, call our clinic today to book a full assessment of your hearing.
CAUSES OF HEARING LOSS
There are many causes of hearing loss which may include exposure to noise, aging, illness and more.
Age-related hearing loss is called presbycusis and affects the majority of those over 60 years of age and it is the most common cause of hearing loss. All parts of the ear are affected by aging, but in particular the cochlea and the nerve pathways to the brain.
In the earlier stages, it most commonly affects the ability to hear high-pitched noises and voices.
Exposure to excessive noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Loud noises can damage the hair cells in the cochlea and the louder the noise or longer the exposure, the greater the risk of permanent hearing loss.
Hereditary or genetic hearing loss does not always means a person is born with it. Genetic hearing loss can have a late onset which involves a progressive loss of hearing.
Trauma & Injury
The outer ear can be damaged by trauma or injury or there can be an abnormality at birth. You may only notice hearing loss if the entrance to the ear canal is obstructed or closed up preventing sound entry to enter.
People with diabetes are twice as likely to experience hearing loss than those who don’t have diabetes. It is recommended that people with diabetes get tested regularly for hearing loss.
Other Illnesses & Diseases
There are many diseases, bacterial, viral or other, which can cause hearing loss as well as some illnesses. Listed below are some of the common illnesses or diseases which may cause hearing loss:
- Chicken Poxs
- Meniere’s Disorder
- Dementia, And more