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  • Muffled hearing
  • Have trouble hearing in groups
  • Difficulty understanding what people are saying, especially in background noise.
  • Fail to hear someone talking from behind you
  • Listening to the television or radio at a higher volume than in the past.
  • Have difficulty on the phone
  • Have trouble hearing your alarm clock
  • Difficulties in hearing someone calling to you from behind or from another room
  • Difficulties in communicating in a small group of people, for example at meetings
  • Communication difficulties in noisy environments, for example in a car, bus or at a party
  • A frequent need to ask people to repeat themselves
  • You no longer hear your watch ticking, water running or birds singing
  • Difficulties in hearing the doorbell or the telephone ringing
  • Family, colleagues and friends say that you might be suffering from hearing loss
  • You have to lip read the people who talk to you
  • You feel that you must really concentrate to hear someone talk or whisper
  • If you experience these signs of hearing loss, you may feel that your social life is suffering too because of hearing and communication difficulties. You may even be tempted to avoid social gatherings and other social situations where you run the risk of misunderstanding or not hearing what other people say.
  • Ringing, roaring, hissing, or buzzing in the ear (tinnitus).

Hearing loss can be categorized by which part of the auditory system is damaged. There are three basic types of hearing loss: conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive Hearing Loss occurs when there is a problem with the Outer or Middle Ear which interferes with the sound passing to the Inner Ear.People experience only a drop in volume of their hearing. This type of hearing loss can often be corrected medically or surgically. Some types of hearing technologies can be used to treat Conductive Hearing Loss such as Bone Conduction Hearing Aids, Bone Anchored Hearing Devices and Middle Ear Implants.

Some possible causes of conductive hearing loss:

  • Impacted earwax (cerumen)
  • Ear infections (otitis media)
  • Perforated eardrum
  • Benign tumors
  • Poor eustachian tube function
  • Presence of a foreign body
  • Stiffening of middle ear bones.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural Hearing Loss occurs when the hearing organ, the Cochlea, and/or the auditory nerve is damaged or malfunctions, so it is unable to accurately send the electrical information to the brain. Sensorineural Hearing Loss is almost always permanent. Sensorineural hearing loss cannot be surgically corrected or treated medically.This can reduce the clarity of sound and is often why people say they can only hear others mumbling. Technologies such as Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants and Hybrid Cochlear Implants can help reduce the effects of having Sensorineural Hearing Loss.

Some possible causes of sensorineural hearing loss:

  • Prematurity
  • Complications at birth
  • Genetics (hearing loss that runs in the family)
  • Aging
  • Drugs that may be toxic to the ear
  • Illness
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Head trauma
  • Birth defects of the inner ear

Mixed Hearing Loss

A Mixed Hearing Loss occurs when both Conductive Hearing Loss and Sensorineural Hearing Loss are present. The sensorineural component is permanent, while the conductive component can either be permanent or temporary. For example, a Mixed Hearing Loss can occur when a person with Presbycusis also has an Ear Infection. it may be possible to successfully treat the conductive hearing loss. Following treatment, the individual may benefit from hearing aids to help manage the remaining sensorineural hearing loss.

If you think you might have hearing loss, the most important thing you can do is get your hearing checked by a professional as soon as possible. It’s not a good idea to leave hearing loss untreated, as it’s been linked with other health conditions and puts stress on your life and relationships.

Even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms right now, it’s recommended that everyone get an annual hearing test. Just like a regular physician checkup, annual screenings will allow you to monitor your hearing health and take action as soon as any changes occur.

Consequences of hearing loss

Hearing loss is not just an ailment of old age. It can strike at any time and any age, even childhood.Unlike a vision loss, hearing loss can be quite difficult for someone who suffers it to recognize.This is because of the nature of the onset of hearing loss, it is rarely sudden , and often develops gradually.For this reason family members play important role in helping them overcoming their hearing difficulties .

Hearing loss can have a range of consequences. The implications of hearing loss differ from person to person, but most people with hearing impairment suffer some social, psychological and physical problems as a result of their hearing loss.

Studies have linked untreated hearing loss effects to:

  • Delayed speech and language development in children
  • Learning problems that result in reduced academic performance in children
  • Irritability, negativism and anger
  • Fatigue, tension, stress and depression
  • Avoidance or withdrawal from social situations
  • Social rejection and loneliness
  • Reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety
  • Impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks
  • Reduced job performance and earning potential
  • Diminished psychological and overall health
  • Hearing loss can increase the rate of cognitive decline and dementia in adult
  • Paranoia – worrying about what others are thinking
  • Strain on relationships and marriage
  • Loss of Independence(Inability to hear speech and environmental sounds may leave you relying on others to help you through life for instance driving and staying alone at home)

Why should you treat your Hearing loss

  • Stay connected to the world around you
  • Improve relationships with friends and family
  • Environmental sounds are crucial for safety and balance
  • Better physical, social, and cognitive well being

Avoiding treatment causes parts of the ear and brain to deteriorate at more rapid rate HL is more difficult to treat as it becomes worse. As hearing ability declines with age, interventions such as hearing aids should be considered not only to improve hearing but to preserve the brain. Your hearing ability directly affects how the brain processes sounds, including speech. Preserving your hearing not only protect your ears, but also helps your brain perform at its best.

If you think you or a loved one suffers from hearing loss, don’t delay another day. Visit a hearing healthcare professional and take the first step towards a world of better hearing.

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