Types of hearing loss
A hearing loss can be categorised by these different types:
Conductive hearing loss
This is where sound cannot pass freely through the ear drum and into the tiny bone structures in the middle ear. This could be due to a build up of ear wax and require removal by micro-suction.
Sensorineural hearing loss
This is where the hair cells in the inner ear which transmit sound signals to the brain, get permanently damaged. It can be mild, moderate, severe or profound.
Mixed hearing loss
This is when there is a conductive hearing loss combined with a sensorineural loss.
How do I know if I have a hearing loss?
Often a hearing loss will develop gradually, and people will try to overcome the symptoms before realising there is a problem:
- Asking others to repeat themselves because it sounds like they are mumbling
- Turning the TV volume up higher than anyone else would prefer
- Avoiding noisy, social environments such as restaurants
- Avoiding joining in large group conversations
It might be those softer high-pitched sounds which you struggle with first. Such as bird song, female voices or whispers.
The understanding of speech also suffers because many of the sounds important for understanding speech are soft and high pitched such as “s” or “th”. It’s these sounds which help you to determine the difference between similar sounding words such as “path” and “pass”
The impact a hearing loss can have
Having a hearing loss doesn’t just affect a person’s ability to hear clearly. It can have a massive impact on a person’s well-being and enjoyment for life.
The effects on loved ones
Loved ones are affected by a hearing loss too. At Independent Hearing Care, we understand the impact that has on a relationship and that is why take the time to listen to how your hearing loss is affecting you and your loved ones, trying to find a solution which helps make sure those special moments aren’t missed again.
Distancing yourself from social situations
Social isolation is common. It might be gradual starting with avoiding noisy group settings, until you find yourself completely withdrawn from the things and the people you love. This in turn leads to feelings of loneliness and depression.
Studies have shown that having a hearing loss can lead to cognitive decline and dementia. Some experts theorize that the dementia risk may be due to the social isolation that often accompanies hearing loss. Avoiding interactions because you can’t hear what people are saying can mean less intellectual stimulation for your brain—and that could open the door to dementia. Whilst there is no cure for dementia, studies have shown that hearing aids can slow down this progression.