Warning Signs of Hearing Loss
For the majority of people, hearing loss develops gradually over a period of time. Hearing loss can go unnoticed by the sufferer for many years and it is often one’s family and friends who notice, and become frustrated, first.
In the adult population, hearing loss can lead to withdrawal from social situations, reduced communication ability, loss of confidence and can have negative impacts on mental health. Preliminary research is also showing links to detrimental changes in cognition over time. As such, early intervention and rehabilitation is very important!
With hearing aids now being extremely discrete, the previous stigma and cosmetic concerns surrounding hearing devices has significantly changed. This has resulted in hearing loss sufferers becoming increasingly more proactive in treating their hearing loss and enjoying the benefits of improved hearing and an enhanced quality of life.
Common Signs/Symptoms that you have have a hearing loss:
Tinnitus: Intermittent or continuous noise in the ear/s and/or head (buzzing, ringing, hissing, etc). Frequent requests for repetition/misunderstanding conversations
People sound like they are ‘mumbling’ when they speak: This indicates a lack of ‘clarity’ in what you are hearing in conversation and can indicate a high frequency hearing loss.
Difficulty hearing in background noise: May be noticeable in social situations and restaurants, family gatherings, work meetings, etc.
Increased volume when listening to the television or radio: A common complaint from family members.
Difficulty hearing on the telephone
Fatigue from increased concentration during conversations: Our brain tries to supplement/compensate for a hearing loss with increased focus on visual cues and body language and plays ‘catch up’ throughout a conversation – this can be exhausting over the course of a day
If you are experiencing any of the above, a comprehensive hearing assessment with an Audiologist is strongly recommended.
Causes and Types of Hearing Loss
The three main types of hearing loss are sensorineural, conductive and mixed.
- Sensorineural: A permanent type of hearing loss. Damage has occurred to the hair cells within the cochlea (inner ear) and/or to the auditory nerve.
- Conductive: An issue with the middle and/or outer ear.
- Mixed: A combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.