When it comes to hearing loss, we tend to overlook cases that aren’t genetic or elderly. However, it is a myth that hearing loss only happens to infants and seniors. It can occur at any age, and the warning signs usually appear years before the actual symptoms. In this blog, we will give you an overview of hearing loss, what to look for, and what you need to know about treatment and prevention.
An overview on hearing loss
Hearing loss can come in numerous forms, caused by various problems with the ears and nerves within them. There are four general types of hearing loss, which includes:
- Conductive hearing loss
- Sensorineural hearing loss
- Mixed hearing loss
- Auditory nerve hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss makes up 90% of hearing loss cases and is the most common form of hearing loss. It occurs when the cochlea, your inner ear organ lined with tiny hairs, begins to degrade, leading to gradual hearing loss over time. These hairs pick up sound and determine the volume and frequency of these sounds before passing them to the brain. Over time, these hairs begin to wear down, leading to sensorineural hearing loss. Noise exposure and other loud sounds can speed up this process.
Dismissing the myths
Our ears are extraordinarily misunderstood. Here are a few misconceptions about hearing loss.
“Hearing loss only happens to old people.” This is a harmful misconception. While seniors are more prone to developing hearing loss, anyone at any age can begin losing their hearing. Many people don’t get their hearing tested because they believe it’s an “old person problem”, which leads them to miss important warning signs about their hearing.
“Hearing loss means you lose all your hearing.” This is not the case at all! Only some cases of hearing loss leave people profoundly hard of hearing or completely deaf. Some people only have trouble hearing certain frequencies, voices, and sounds, while others just struggle to hear in loud rooms and suffer from tinnitus.
“Hearing aids and surgery can fix it.” Hearing aids and surgery are treatments, not plasters. They cannot be slapped onto every case of hearing loss, and both avenues of treatment are serious decisions. They do not fix hearing loss; they alleviate the symptoms and make it easier to function. Once your hearing is gone, it cannot be healed but certainly compensated with hearing aids.
The symptoms of hearing loss can easily be dismissed. Sensorineural hearing loss happens gradually, so you might not realise your hearing is affected. It can manifest in subtle ways, making you think that the problem lies elsewhere.
Here are some specific hearing loss signs that you can identify in your day-to-day life:
- Feeling physically and mentally exhausted after a long day of listening to people talk.
- Feeling lost in conversations, especially group conversations.
- Frequently asking people to repeat themselves.
- Turn up your music or television loud enough that others comment on it.
- Avoiding parties, get-togethers, and noisy restaurants.
- Having trouble understanding certain people’s voices.
- Frequently mishearing certain words.
- Being easily irritated, stressed, or overwhelmed by noises, voices, or loud sounds.
If you’re suffering from these symptoms, it might be a sign that your hearing has been affected. We can assist you to get your hearing tested so that if there is a problem, we can help you with the correct treatment.
Hearing Loss Treatments
The most common form of treatment is hearing aids. While it doesn’t replace your hearing, it does make it easier to hear. Hearing aid technology has improved a lot, with it being smaller and more refined than ever.
If you suffer from tinnitus, hearing aid devices can give you relief. Some hearing aids come with tinnitus therapies installed.
If your hearing loss is mild, you might be tempted to change your lifestyle to “cope” with it. However, the earlier you start to wear hearing aids to alleviate your hearing loss, the better your quality of life and wellbeing is likely to be.
Prevention and protection
They always say that prevention is better than cure. Here are a few preventive measures that you can exercise to protect your ears:
- Wear earplugs, especially when you are going to loud events, malls, get-togethers.
- Your ears need rest, especially after you had a noisy day.
- Turn down your music. Loud music is becoming a serious noise exposure risk.
- Turn off the television. If you’re not actively watching it, try to eliminate this source of background noise.
- Limit your time at concerts and parties.
- Get your hearing tested often. We would like to advise you to visit us every year for a hearing test.
About Strauss Audiology
Strauss Audiology is a professional audiology business in the northern suburbs of Cape Town, offering expert, effective hearing advice that is tailored to clients’ unique hearing needs. We conduct hearing evaluations, hearing tests and vertigo assessments, and provide a range of solutions to improve and protect clients’ hearing. This includes providing hearing aids to Cape Town clients. With 13 years of experience, and with the qualifications and certifications to deliver leading hearing care, you can trust us to take care of your hearing needs.
Want your hearing tested? Need a solution for hearing loss?