Have you ever found yourself talking louder and slower to the hearing impaired? At one time or another, we have all ended up raising our voices and slowing down our speech for those who don’t hear quite as well. But is this the proper thing to do? Learn about how hearing loss affects both those who have it and their loved ones, as well as what you can do about it and how Otofonix can help with one of our hearing aid devices.
Hearing Loss 101: Ear Damage
Consider if you grew up decades ago, you could be at a higher risk for a faster decline in hearing impairment. Remember when your parents asked you to turn down your Walkman, Discman or even car stereo? And do you remember all those concerts you went to with a really loud sound system? Many of the decisions you have made throughout your life have affected your ability to hear.
Part of the Aging Process
We now know that loss of hearing is a part of the aging process. In fact, we can even speed that decline up with a lifestyle full of loud machines and even louder concerts. But hearing loss can go beyond working in a loud environment or having a blasting stereo system in your vehicle. There are reasons why your hearing may have prematurely declined. They also contribute to the different types of hearing loss that are unrelated to exposure to loud noises.
Other Causes of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors. The good news is people who are having hearing difficulties can get help. Plus, this hearing loss may also be temporary.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
It is inevitable for our hearing abilities to decline naturally as we age. However, there are other situations that cause damage to the nerves in the inner ear. Sensorineural hearing loss involves damage to the inner ear – to the cochlea or inner nerves. These issues can also end up diminishing sensory cells. The following is a list of situations that can cause damage to your inner ear.
- Excessive noise
- Viral infections
These issues can cause both temporary and permanent hearing deficiencies. Hearing loss becomes more permanent when the nerves in the inner ear are damaged and they no longer properly transmit messages to your brain. With sensorineural disorder, hearing loss can be more permanent. Other types of hearing loss can be either permanent or temporary, which affect your middle or outer ear.
Conductive Hearing Loss
A conductive hearing loss stems from issues in the middle ear, involving the eardrum or ossicles. It is not uncommon for this type of hearing loss to be reversed. Conductive hearing loss can be caused by the following conditions.
- Ear wax build-up
- Fluid in the middle ear
- Unusual tumor and/or growths near the middle ear
Mixed Hearing Loss
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive. This means that there is damage in the outer or middle and the inner ear.
Symptoms and Awareness
You may not even be aware that you can’t hear as well as you did 10 years ago. What are the signs that you may need assistance with your hearing? Consider some of the symptoms of this type of hearing loss.
- Having trouble with hearing consonants.
- There may be challenging hearing words, especially in crowded settings.
- Sounds seem muffled.
- People may seem like they are mumbling when they speak.
- Quite often you ask others to speak again, clearly, slowly and loudly.
- Turning up the TV or radio louder than you used to.
If you have been experiencing hearing loss, it may be time to visit your doctor to see if there is any damage to your inner, middle or outer ear. Hearing loss can decline very gradually over the years. Perhaps, it is your family members who complain that the TV is too loud. Maybe, you are experiencing hearing loss and don’t realize it. You might even be getting annoyed because people don’t speak clearly enough.
This is the time to start asking questions and then take action. The good news for you and your family is that there are preventive measures to reduce the amount of damage to your ears. Even when other physical ailments can cause premature hearing loss, there are things that you can do to help. Start by making an appointment with your doctor to see if you need surgery or medication.
Fortunately, there are over the counter hearing aids that help people to hear more of what is going on around them. These affordable devices can amplify sounds to make them more audible to those who need some assistance. Much like over-the-counter reading glasses, OTC hearing aids can be purchased without a prescription to get the aid someone needs right away.
Looking for a hearing clinic near you? Visit our audiologist directory HERE