Posted by Liberty Murray on November 20, 2019
It’s not always easy to tell if you’re suffering from Hearing Loss.
Common signs include:
Causes of hearing loss
Hearing loss can have many different causes. For example:
Treatments for hearing loss
Hearing loss sometimes gets better on its own or maybe treated with medicine or a simple procedure. For example, earwax can be sucked out or softened with eardrops.
But other types – such as gradual hearing loss, which often happens as you get older – may be permanent. In these cases, treatment can help make the most of the remaining hearing. This may involve using:
Preventing hearing loss
It’s not always possible to prevent hearing loss, but there are some simple things you can do to reduce the risk of damaging your hearing.
Hearing Loss is often a sneaky thief. It can creep up on you gradually, stealing your hearing in such small increments you suddenly find yourself straining to understand conversation and missing some of your favorite sounds.
How can you tell if you have hearing loss? Only a qualified hearing health professional can tell you for sure, but here are five signs you may not be hearing your best.
Take a moment and think—when was the last time you heard birds singing or crickets chirping? Do you hear the car’s turn signal when it’s indicating? Are you having trouble hearing your wife or grandchildren when they speak?
These higher-pitched sounds and voices register at frequencies of 2,000 Hz or higher, which those with high-frequency hearing loss have trouble hearing.
Another symptom of high-frequency hearing loss is the inability to distinguish speech in noisy environments. As a result, you may find yourself avoiding social situations like family get-together’s or impromptu celebrations with friends at local gathering places where you’re forced to concentrate on understanding the conversation.
If you find you’re straining to listen to the conversation and are more exhausted than usual at the end of the day, you may have listening fatigue Like a fading radio state or bad phone connection, you have difficulty following the conversation.
Most people are surprised to learn that hearing is a brain activity. When your auditory system is compromised, it takes a lot more effort for your brain to process the sound it receives from your inner ear. In effect, the signal is broken.
Both age-related hearing loss and noise-induced hearing loss can cause tinnitus, a condition also known as ringing in the ears. In these two situations, researchers believe tinnitus may be the brain’s way of filling in the missing frequencies it is no longer receiving from the auditory system.
High-frequency hearing loss is typically a type of sensorineural hearing loss, which means hair cells in the inner ear have been damaged. These hair cells are responsible for converting sounds into signals and sending them along the auditory nerve to the brain for interpretation. In addition to age, this type of hearing loss can be caused by noise, disease, infection or genetics.
Although sensorineural hearing loss isn’t curable, it can be treated with hearing aids or cochlear implants. Diagnosis and treatment are important because the untreated hearing loss has been linked to mental health conditions such as anger, depression, anxiety, isolation, frustration, loneliness, and decreased cognitive function.
Using headphones or earbuds for too long, too loudly, or too often can destroy the parts of the ear vital to healthy hearing. In each ear, there are about 18,000 cilia, which are tiny hair cells that transmit sound. Those microscopic hair cells are an integral part of the process that sends an electrical signal to the brain, which then translates to a recognizable sound.
They are essentially tiny speakers that funnel music straight into the ear canal. Yet most earbuds are low quality, incapable of blocking out ambient noise. They also tend to transmit bass poorly. Both of these factors lead listeners to turn up the volume even more.
Outside-the-ear headphones are a better option, as unlike earbuds that deliver music directly into the ear, they provide somewhat of a buffering space between the music and the ear canal. However — although headphones are a safer choice than earbuds when it comes to hearing — they are not without their drawbacks.
Like earbuds, most headphones are of low or mediocre quality and do not transmit the bass efficiently. It is worth investing in better quality headphones to improve your listening experience and protect your hearing.
Two different kinds of headphones are available that can not only help block out ambient noise but can protect your hearing as well by allowing you to hear your music at safer levels. One option is noise-canceling headphones, which work by using inverse waves to cancel out the incoming sound. They work best at canceling out low-frequency sounds, like the hum of an engine or the rumble of traffic, but not as well as canceling out higher frequency sounds like the sound of conversation. Another option is noise-isolating headphones; they work a bit differently, by creating a seal around the ear that creates a physical barrier between the ear and the outside noise.
Smoking is a well-established risk factor for hearing loss. Studies have shown that time and again exposure to cigarette smoke–whether directly, secondhand, or even in utero–can have a big impact on a person’s hearing health.
Both nicotine and carbon monoxide lower oxygen blood levels and constrict blood vessels all over your body–including those in your inner ear responsible for maintaining hair cell health. Also, nicotine and cigarette smoke are thought to:
Yes, for both adults and kids. The cause is two-fold: Smoking weakens the immune system and it damages tissues in the nose and throat, making them more susceptible to infections that affect the ears, too.
The psychological effects of untreated hearing loss for both children and adults can include increased outbursts of anger, low self-confidence, frustration, embarrassment, and depression. Adults may experience periods of sadness and grieving as their ability to hear diminishes. They also may feel more fatigued, as the struggle to hear and understand can be physically exhausting.
When left untreated, hearing loss can affect:
Hearing loss is a well-understood medical condition for which solutions have existed for years. Treating your hearing loss begins with a comprehensive test to determine how severe the loss is and what type. Unless you have the type of hearing loss that can be treated medically, hearing aids are often the best solution.
Before you go…
While driving, reduce the volume on the car radio and ask passengers to keep conversation noise to a minimum. Today’s vehicles are built to reduce road noise, which is good news for those with hearing loss. Anytime you can reduce the variety of noises competing for your attention, the better you’ll be able to hear the ones you need to.
Whether you hear well or have some degree of hearing loss, driving comes with a lot of responsibility. That means anytime you improve your driving skills, you reduce the risk of becoming an accident statistic and help make our roads safer. Reduce distractions and rely on visual clues.
You may be thinking you have to completely change your lifestyle to protect your heart along with your hearing. But don’t worry. Even making a few small changes here and there can make a difference. Here are some simple ways to protect your heart and your ears at the same time:
Over the last few years, there is growing evidence of a link between dementia/cognition and hearing loss. Hearing loss and dementia are linked with aging and often occur together as we get older. The majority of people with dementia are over 70 and nearly three-quarters of people over 70 have hearing loss. There is strong evidence that mild hearing loss doubles the risk of developing dementia, with moderate hearing loss leading to three times the risk, and severe hearing loss five times the risk. Hearing loss can be misdiagnosed as dementia or make the symptoms of dementia appear worse.
Common symptoms of hearing loss: