March the 3rd 2021 marks national world hearing day.
Hearing is so much more than just sounds and noise. Hearing connects us to the world and gives us awareness of our environment. Without our hearing, those songs we hear on the radio wouldn’t stimulate the memories of the past, without our hearing how would we recognise the comforting voice of a loved one? Without our hearing how would we relax to the sound of the birds chirping in the garden on a summers day? Our hearing provokes so many of our feelings but it’s one of our senses that we tend to neglect and don’t look after.
Hearing loss affects over 12 million people in the UK and on average it takes 10 years before we confront the issue and make an appointment to see someone about our hearing.
Hearing loss can be caused by many different factors.
Noise Induced Hearing Loss.
Noise induced hearing loss. Long and repeated exposure to loud sounds can cause irreversible damage to your hearing. Some jobs or hobbies can expose you to a sudden loud bangs such as gun fire or explosions. If you work in a noisy environment or have a noisy hobby you should wear the appropriate hearing protection to prevent yourself from excessive exposure to help minimise the damage caused by the loud sounds.
Genes, your hearing loss could be genetic around 1600 children are born with a hearing deficiency in the UK.
Medications and Medical Treatments.
Certain types of medications and medical treatments can affect your hearing and cause hearing loss there are currently around 100 different prescription medications that have links with hearing loss but only if they are taken in large doses or if you are using strong medications to treat cancer. Medications that are known to affect your hearing are known as ototoxic.
Sudden Hearing Loss
Sudden hearing loss can happen immediately or can progress over a number of weeks. Some causes may be a blocked ear, infection or trauma. Sudden hearing loss should be treated instantly by your GP.
A rare, benign and slow growing tumour known as an acoustic neuroma. This tumour affects the hearing and balance as it presses on the hearing, facial and balance nerve.
Age related hearing loss.
Age related hearing loss. Probably the most common cause of hearing loss. Gradual wear and tear of the tiny hair cells in the inner part of the ear make hearing more difficult. More now than ever we are all starting to look after our health a little more. We all get our eyes tested at the first signs of any blurred vision, visit the dentist for our regular check-ups and see our GP if we become unwell. What we don’t do is get the health of our ears and our hearing checked on a regular basis. Do we put it off because of embarrassment? Fear of the unknown? Or do we simply just forget?
What to look for.
If you recognise any of the following symptoms don’t put it off book a hearing test.
- People mumbling.
- Turning the TV louder.
- Struggling to hear conversation in a group of people.
- Can’t hear on the phone.
- Asking people to repeat themselves.
What to do.
Hearing tests are available for anyone at any age but I would recommend everyone over the age of 50 should have a hearing test every two years if there are no underlying problems. Your Audiologist will recommend a different recall period if necessary.