The most common cause of hearing loss is damage to the sensory hairs located in your inner ear. This may be as a result of age, injury or exposure to loud noises. Another common cause is a blockage in the ear canal, usually caused by an infection, perforated eardrum, or build up of earwax.
While hearing loss can occur suddenly, it is typically a gradual process that affects high frequencies first. This makes it harder to hear soft-sounding letters such as ‘s’, ‘c’ and ‘f’ which, in turn causes problems differentiating words such as ‘same’, ‘came’ and ‘fame’. The problem is exacerbated in noisy environments where the thing you are listening to is drowned out by background sounds.
10 million people in the UK have some form of hearing loss. That’s about 1 in every 6 people. While the majority of people with hearing loss are over 65, more than 3.5 million people between the ages of 16 and 55 have some form of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is rarely symptomatic of underlying medical problems. However, it can have a negative impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing. This can range from mild frustration and embarrassment to depression, anxiety and even dementia. Thankfully, treating hearing loss will often alleviate associated mental health issues, as it allows you to live a richer, more sociable life.
Because hearing loss usually occurs slowly and is often mild at first, many people don’t notice they are struggling to hear. Here are a few signs that you might be living with hearing problems:
- You think people are mumbling rather than talking clearly
- You often ask people to repeat themselves when talking to you, especially on the telephone
- You find it difficult to focus on conversations in noisy environments
- Other people comment that the volume on your television or radio is too loud
- You lose track of what someone is saying if they turn away from you mid conversation
- You find yourself lip reading, especially when there is a lot of background noise
- You find conversations don’t ‘flow’ but get tangled and confused
- You prefer to avoid social situations as you find it difficult to hold conversations
During a hearing test, our audiologist will take a look at your ears to check for signs of infection, damage to your eardrum or other visible issues. They’ll then invite you to put on some headphones and listen to a series of tones. You simply press a button when you hear a sound. These tones span the spectrum of frequencies and volumes, so your audiologist can build a clear picture of where your hearing is strongest and weakest.
Modern aids are so light and well fitted you’ll barely notice it’s there. What you will notice is how much clearer, louder and more detailed the world around you sounds. You may notice things you haven’t heard in years such as the sound of wind blowing through the grass or birds chirping in the trees. You should also notice a marked improvement in your ability to hold conversations.
It’s quite normal to have a phase of adjustment while your brain gets used to processing this rich tapestry of sounds. But within weeks you should be thoroughly enjoying your rejuvenated sense of hearing. Many people also find their mood takes a turn for the sunnier, as they no longer have to deal with the frustration or embarrassment of hearing problems.
At Sevenoaks Hearing we offer customers a 75 day returns policy for unwanted purchases. So if you generally don’t get on with them, rest assure you can bring them back.