Hearing loss impacts millions of people worldwide. Depending on the cause of your hearing loss, it may worsen over time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take action to maintain your current quality of life.
There are three main types of hearing loss, each of which affects different parts of the ear:
- Conductive - outer or middle ear
- Sensorineural - inner ear
- Mixed - a combination of conductive and sensorineural
It can be difficult to cope with hearing loss and you may feel scared about what might happen in the future. However, there are plenty of helpful things that you can do when you are experiencing hearing loss.
In this article, we’re going to cover the common signs of hearing loss, the main causes, and what you can do if you are finding it difficult to hear as clearly as you once could.
What Are the Signs of Hearing Loss?
The main symptoms of hearing loss include:
- Muffled sounds and speech
- Difficulty hearing what other people are saying
- Different distinguishing between similar-sounding consonants, such as d, f, and s
- Needing to turn the volume up on your technological devices
What Are the Most Common Causes of Hearing Loss?
Age-related hearing loss is one of the most common causes of reduced hearing. Almost half of the population above the age of 65 in the United States have some degree of hearing loss. Chronic exposure to loud noises 1https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/hearing_loss/how_do_i_know_if_i_have_hearing_loss.html is another common cause of hearing loss.
If the inner ear gets damaged due to age, loud noises, or injuries, it can limit the amount of sound that is absorbed by the ear and sent to the brain. High-pitched tones might be harder to hear and voices can become muffled.
In some cases, hearing loss is caused by a build-up of earwax in the ear canal. Removing the ear wax could help to restore your full hearing.
Ear infections and tumors can impact hearing by damaging the delicate structures in the ear or affecting the nerves that transmit sound signals to the brain.
What Should You Do if You Are Experiencing Hearing Loss?
It can be worrying when you first start to experience the signs and symptoms of hearing loss but the quicker you get professional help, the better. Don't be afraid to reach out for the help and support of your loved ones and healthcare professionals.
As soon as you suspect that your hearing has worsened, you should book an appointment with an audiologist 2https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles/physiological-sciences/audiology . They will perform a series of tests to check your hearing abilities. They can identify the cause of your hearing loss and assess its severity.
An audiologist will be able to prescribe the best hearing aids on the market to improve your hearing if they feel that you need some extra support. They may also provide long-term management and rehabilitation treatment plans to help you maintain as much independence as possible.
Additional resources and citations