Facts about Hearing Loss
Hearing loss affects approximately 70% of Canadians over the age of 70, but changes in hearing due to aging or noise exposure can begin at a much earlier age. Untreated hearing loss can lead to social isolation, anxiety and depression. The use of hearing aids will not restore the hearing you once had however hearing aids can help stimulate the hearing you have left and help maintain your speech understanding. The result is easier communication with your loved ones and improved quality of life.
Signs of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be present differently, depending on the individual, their lifestyle and the situations in which they most often communicate. The most common signs of hearing loss include:
- Difficulty hearing someone speaking in a group meeting or noisy room
- People appear to mumble
- Adult voices are easier to understand than children
- Regularly having to ask people to repeat themselves
- Hearing better in one ear than the other
- Difficulty hearing the television or radio
Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss has many different causes. Medication, heredity, noise exposure, aging, infections, loud blasts or injury can all affect our hearing. Even hobbies such as motorcycling or hunting without ear protection impacts our hearing over time as does the use of personal music systems.
The primary types of hearing loss are conductive and sensorineural or a combination of them both.
- Conductive: Hearing loss caused by a problem in the outer or middle ear. Common causes are outer or middle ear infections, excessive wax, foreign bodies, perforated eardrum and otosclerosis (stiffening of the middle ear bone)
- Sensorineural: Hearing loss caused by damage to the inner ear. Common causes include aging, noise exposure, trauma and ototoxicity (harmful effects caused by medication).