Understanding Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can have a profound affect on your life, however you are not alone. One in six Australians suffer from a loss of hearing. It’s important to understand your personal condition and what can be done about it.
We don’t hear with our ears, we hear with our brain. The ear is the facilitator that turns the sounds that we hear into an electrical impulse that the brain can understand. When we are hearing impaired, either the outer, middle or inner ear is halting the process of sending the message to the brain, therefore delaying the processing of information.
Common Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is usually separated into two types:
Conductive hearing loss is caused by a physical or mechanical problem preventing the flow of sound waves into and through the ear. For example wax in the ear canal or fluid in the middle ear can create a blockage, preventing sound from getting into the inner part of the ear. These mechanical or physical problems can often be medically or surgically corrected.
Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage or deterioration to the hair cells or nerve endings in the inner ear. For example damage from noise exposure or deterioration as a result of getting older.
The symptoms for either of these types of hearing loss can be in one (monaural) or both (binaural) ears and can be progressive (happen over a period of time) or sudden. The degree of loss can also vary from very mild to severe or profound.
Whether it is a permanent hearing loss or only temporary will vary between individuals and needs to be assessed by an audiologist.
Gradual (Progressive) Hearing Loss
Often undiagnosed or diagnosed late because it may not impact a person’s life severely until it is in its later stages. Hearing tests can diagnose this and solutions are at hand, so it’s important to try to catch the problem early.
Common causes of gradual hearing loss include:
- Aging – especially for those over 65
- Exposure to loud noises – from work-tools, household objects, headsets or concert halls, for instance
- Build up of earwax
- Abnormal tissue growth – tumours, for instance
- Other conditions such as Meniere’s Disease
Sudden Hearing Loss
Sudden Hearing Loss can happen immediately or over a period of a few days; it can result from infections or viruses like mumps, measles, and flu or other unknown causes:
A head injury for example falling and hitting your head on the pavement, may lead to an immediate loss of hearing.
Sudden Hearing Loss can range from being quite severe to even a total loss of hearing.
If you suspect a Sudden Hearing Loss has occurred it is very important to act quickly and see a specialist either through your local doctor or Accident and Emergency at your closest hospital. Immediate treatment is vital.
The path to a hearing solution
A hearing aid is not always the only solution. A hearing test is the first step in finding the right solution for your hearing loss and can identify problems you might not know you have.
means a better outcome for you.
The costs vary greatly between hearing device options and products. With no commissions or manufacturer incentives in place, we can provide the very best advice and value to you.
As an OHS accredited provider, we can also provide a free service to Pensioners and DVA clients.
News, articles and further reading
There is a wealth of knowledge available to provide greater insight into hearing problems and modern treatments. We encourage you to be as informed as possible to ensure you get the very best from your hearing recovery.