Do you have hearing problems?

Hearing loss affects one in six Australians – that’s around 4.2 million people who are hearing impaired, deaf, or who suffers from some other hearing condition. Some people are born with hearing loss, while for others it is a gradual process which develops as they get older. So, how do you know if you have hearing loss?

Some early warning signs may not be too obvious at first. Subtle symptoms of hearing loss can be:

  • hearing but not understanding
  • thinking that people are mumbling when in fact they aren’t
  • having the television up too loud when you think it’s at a normal volume.

 

The most common contributing factors for hearing loss are ageing and loud noise, and the three most common types of hearing loss are:

Conductive hearing loss – where sound cannot pass from your outer ear to your inner ear, usually because of earwax blockages, a build up of fluid due to an infection, a perforated eardrum or disorder of the hearing bones.

Sensorineural hearing loss – when the tiny hairs inside the cochlea or the auditory nerve are damaged due to ageing, injury or natural causes.

Mixed hearing loss – a combination of both of the above types of hearing loss.

Tinnitus is a condition which may not actually result in hearing loss. It’s a ringing or buzzing sensation in the ear, which occurs even when there is no other sound present.

Levels of hearing loss can be defined as mild, moderate, severe or profound. The only way to determine the level of hearing loss is by having a hearing test from a hearing health specialist.

Do you think you may show signs of hearing loss?

  • Are you frequently asking people to repeat themselves?
  • Are you having trouble speaking to people on the phone?
  • Are you hearing other people’s voices less clearly?
  • Do your friends or family ask you to turn down the volume on the television or stereo because it they are too loud, but you hear it at a normal level?
  • Do you have trouble understanding a conversation when you are in a noisy environment?

 

If you think that you or someone you know may have hearing problems, it would be best to make an appointment with your GP. He or she can help you find out if you have any hearing problems and guide you through the necessary steps to improve your hearing health.

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