Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss

Introduction

Hearing loss is a common condition which affects around 1 in 6 of the UK population (roughly 10 million people).

The ageing process leads to a reduced ability to hear clearly over time. Exposure to high noise levels socially eg. loud music, noisy hobbies, or noise in the workplace can also damage our hearing.

There are three main types of hearing loss:- 

  • Sensorineural – this is where the hair cells in the inner ear/cochlea become permanently damaged and cannot transmit the sound signals to the brain (age related hearing loss & noise exposure).
  • Conductive – this is when the sound cannot pass freely through to the ear drum and the bony structures of the middle ear (ear wax, ear infections, perforated ear drum etc.)
  • Mixed – this is when there is a conductive hearing loss combined with a sensorineural loss, leading to possible problems with the outer, middle and inner ear.

Did you know?

  • That it may take 6-8 years before we may notice we have a hearing problem?
  • That it may take 3-4 years before we then take action?
  • We often recognise the signs of hearing loss (turning the TV/Radio volume up, others mumbling, speech isn’t clear in background noise etc) long before we realise we are struggling. 
  • Listening with hearing impairment is hard work. It can be extremely tiring when we try to concentrate and listen to others. This uses up lots of brain power and can make us feel tired following social gatherings or meetings.
  • Research shows that those with hearing impairment will have lower levels of mental energy than those with normal hearing.
  • Do you feel mentally tired late afternoon?
  • Hearing loss can lead to social isolation, loss of confidence and low mood. It can also affect our relationships and ability to communicate with those around us.

Patients with Menieres disease, Labyrinthitis, Hyperacusis, and Tinnitus often have hearing-related issues; many have an underlying hearing loss.

Improving our hearing ability keeps our brain active and research strongly suggests it may delay the onset of symptoms associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, whilst also reducing the risk of falling and depression.