Naturally with age, we lose our hearing function. It may only be mild but in some cases it may be enough to need a hearing aid. General wear and tear of the ear will lead to damage inside which means that your ear can’t communicate those sounds and signals to the brain as easily as before.
This may be because you have been exposed to loud sounds in the past (working in the music industry, or perhaps the construction industry). Hearing loss takes many forms, but it’s important to note that some hearing conditions won’t make you lose your hearing at all! Tinnitus for one example, in some people tinnitus does cause hearing loss but the vast majority of cases, your hearing is still impeccable, as tinnitus really only affects you when you are sat in complete silence. Either way, getting a hearing test is the first step to diagnosing any issues with your hearing. It’s good to take care of yourself.
What to Look out For
If you have any type of hunch that you have a hearing impairment, then get it checked. However, what warrants some concern for hearing loss? Here are some:
- Muffling of speech and other sounds.
- Difficulty understanding words, especially against background noise or in a crowd when talking next to someone.
- Trouble hearing consonants, you may have the ability to only hear the vowels like E or O.
- Frequently asking others to speak more slowly, clearly and loudly, when you have never had to before.
- Needing to turn up the volume of the television or radio and loud enough for others to notice.
- You think people aren’t speaking clearly.
- Constantly asking them to repeat things.
These are common things that you need to make note of. If they happen once or twice, then it could be a number of reasons, but if it is more frequent and daily, then it’s probably best to go get a hearing test. They are painless and pretty quick and they can determine the type of hearing loss and the best plan of action for you going forward.
The four main types of hearing loss are:
- auditory processing disorders;
Your audiologist will be able to talk you through all these. Any other symptoms should be noted too, such as pain, buzzing, headaches or anything else such as dizziness or vertigo. These are often connected to the inner ear and these can’t be seen by your audiologist and would need an MRI. The MRI would be of your entire head, so it also rules out any issues with the brain; but the chances are that your hearing loss is going to be because of plain wear and tear. If you feel that you have any type of itching or strange sensations in the ear, your audiologist will check for wax build up. Often you will find that wax removal will allow you to hear clearer but just in case you do need a hearing aid, getting that initial test will be of huge benefit to you.