Q. Hearing Loss Symptoms
Hearing loss may be gradual or sudden. Hearing difficulties can vary, they may be mild resulting in minor difficulties with conversation or sever, such as a complete deafness.
The speed at which the hearing loss occurs can also contribute clues as to the cause.
If hearing loss is sudden, the cause can be narrowed down to trauma or problems with blood circulation. A gradual onset is suggestive of other causes such as aging or a tumour which our experienced Audiologists will be able to recognise.
If you have other neurological problems, for example tinnitus (ringing of the ears) or vertigo (spinning sensation), it may indicate a further problem with the nerves in the ear or brain. A hearing loss can be unilateral (only 1 ear) or bilateral (both ears).
Pain in the ear is associated with ear infections, trauma and obstruction in the canal. Ear infections may also cause a fever. If you or a loved one are experiencing a sudden hearing loss, do not hesitate in visiting your doctor. He may recommend further investigation but at the very least he will recommend you go for a hearing test and we at O’Grady’s Hearing Care Services are delighted to provide you with our care and expertise.
Q. Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive Hearing Loss is caused by anything that interferes with the transmission of sound from the outer to the inner ear.
Possible causes include:
- Middle ear infections (otitis media)
- Collection of fluid in the middle ear (“glue ear” in children)
- Blockage of the outer ear (by wax)
- Damage to the eardrum by infection or an injury
- Damage to the bones (ossicles) of the middle ear due to injury
- Otosclerosis, a condition in which the ossicles of the middle ear become immobile because of growth of the surrounding bone
Q. Sensorineural Hearing Loss
This due to damage to the hair cells in the inner ear and/or to the pathway for sound impulses from the hair cells to the auditory nerve and the brain.
Possible causes include:
- Presbycusis - Age-related hearing loss - the decline in hearing that many people experience as they get older
- Acoustic trauma (injury caused by loud noise) to the hair cells
- Head trauma
- Viral infections of the inner ear (may be caused by viruses such as Mumps or Measles and Rubella)
- Ménière’s disease, which involves abnormal pressure in the inner ear
- Certain drugs, such as high doses of aspirin, quinine and some rarely used antibiotics, which can affect the hair cells
- Acoustic neuroma, a benign (non-cancerous) tumour affecting the auditory nerve
- Infections or inflammation of the brain or brain covering, e.g. meningitis
- Other conditions such as diabetes, untreated high blood pressure, thyroid problems and many more.
- Hearing loss can be congenital or acquired. A congenital hearing loss is when the hearing loss occurs before or just after birth. Exposure to certain diseases in utero or soon after birth can harm the hearing mechanism of a baby. Acquired hearing loss happens at a later stage and can be due to factors such as disease, noise or trauma to the head.
Q. Is it time to seek advice from your doctor or audiologist?
If you answer YES to the following questions, then it’s time to seek advice:
Does it seem that others are always mumbling in conversation?
Do you have to ask others to repeat themselves over and over again?
Is it difficult for you to understand speech in noisy places?
Do you find it easier to understand others when you are looking directly at their faces?
Do you have trouble hearing on the telephone?
Are you often told you have the TV volume up too loud?
Do you often misunderstand what people tell you?
Acknowledging you have hearing difficulties can be a daunting and difficult. However, thanks to today’s modern technology, hearing aids are a lot less noticeable. Your friends and family will notice your improved hearing ability and you can find relief from a constant strain.