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Hearing Loss

Introduction

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

The aging process leads to a reduced ability to hear clearly over time. Exposure to high noise levels socially or in the workplace can also damage our hearing. There are three main types of hearing loss:-

  • Sensorineural – this is when the hair cells in the inner ear/cochlear 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 may recognise the signs of hearing loss (TV/Radio volume up, others mumble, speech isn’t clear in back ground noise etc).
  • 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 mental energy (brain power).
  • 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, low mood and confidence. It can also affect our relationships and ability to communicate with those around us.

Patients with Menieres disease, Labyrinthitis, Hyperacusis, Phonobia and Tinnitus often have hearing related issues; many have an underlying hearing loss. Improving our hearing ability keeps our brain active and research suggests it may delay the onset of symptoms associated with Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, whilst also reducing Falls Risk and Depression.

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