Hearing loss is something many people associate with the aging process, but hearing loss can be caused in various ways and is experienced by people of all ages.
If you are experiencing hearing loss, you are not alone. According to the World Health Organization, one in five people worldwide experiences hearing loss. This step-by-step guide will explain key hearing loss information, from the signs of hearing loss to hearing loss treatments.
Signs Of Hearing Loss
There main signs of hearing loss include:
- Finding it harder to follow conversations in environments with background noise.
- Frequently asking people to repeat what they said.
- Increasing the volume on the television and radio.
- Misunderstanding what others have said.
Types Of Hearing Loss
There are three types of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural, and mixed.
- Conductive Hearing Loss: Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound cannot travel to the outer and inner ear. People with conductive hearing loss may not be able to hear soft sounds.
- Sensorineural Hearing Loss: Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when sounds are not transmitted to the brain effectively. Sensorineural hearing loss is usually caused by damage to sensory receptors in the cochlea or the auditory nerve. People with sensorineural hearing loss may experience tinnitus, and sounds will be muffled.
- Mixed Hearing Loss: Mixed hearing loss refers to a combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. When a person has mixed hearing loss, the inner ear, outer ear, and sometimes, the middle ear is affected.
Hearing loss can be classed as mild, moderate, severe and profound.
Causes Of Hearing Loss
Just as there are different types of hearing loss, there are also several possible causes. Here are some common causes of hearing loss:
- Exposure to loud noise: Frequent exposure to noise exceeding 70 dBA can damage your hearing.
- Medication: Hearing loss can be a side effect of certain medications.
- Age-related decline: Hearing ability can slowly deteriorate with age, leading to hearing loss in seniors.
- Earwax build-up: When earwax accumulates, this can cause sounds to become muffled.
Testing For Hearing Loss
Scheduling regular visits to your Hearing Instrument Specialist is essential to take the best care of your hearing, especially if you notice changes. During your visit, the Hearing Instrument Specialist will conduct a thorough hearing test to assess your hearing. The Hearing Instrument Specialist will provide you with detailed information about your hearing, answer any questions you may have, and advise on the best treatments to improve your hearing.
Hearing Loss Treatment
The treatment your Hearing Instrument Specialist recommends will depend on the type of hearing loss you are experiencing. The Hearing Instrument Specialist will discuss the treatment options available to you and advise you on which will be most effective. If you have sensorineural hearing loss, your Hearing Instrument Specialist may recommend hearing aids to improve your hearing. The most popular hearing aid choices include behind the ear (BTE), in the ear (ITE), in the canal (ITC), completely in canal (CIC) and invisible in canal (IIC).