October is Audiology Awarness Month. Visit the rest of the CHS Knowledge Centre for more articles and advice on hearing loss, communication tips and more.
Hearing loss is the loss of hearing in one or both ears and can range from mild to profound. It frequently goes unnoticed and because it can happen gradually, many people don’t notice until it is too late. They often stop communicating and withdraw from family, friends and social situations because they can’t understand what is being said.
Some common signs of hearing loss include:
- Speaking louder than necessary
- Constantly asking for words to be repeated
- Straining to hear
- Misunderstanding conversations, especially in loud environments
- Favouring one ear
- Thinking that people always mumble
- Turning the television or radio up louder than usual
- Difficulty hearing on the telephone
- Withdrawing from social interaction
- Ringing or buzzing in one or both ears
- Appearing dull and disinterested, slow to respond, or just not quite “with it”
If you are experiencing any of these signs of hearing loss, contact CHS to make an appointment for a hearing test or take our online hearing test.
Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be categorized by which part of the auditory system is affected. There are 3 basic types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive and mixed.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or hearing nerve in the brain.
Some causes of sensorineural hearing loss include:
- Aging – gradual age-related hearing loss is called presbycusis
- Excessive exposure to loud noise
- Viral or bacterial infections
- Certain medications
- Meniere's disease
- Acoustic Neuroma – a tumour which is located between the ear and the brain
- Hereditary factors
Conductive Hearing Loss occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently through the ear canal, eardrum or middle ear.
Some causes of conductive hearing loss include:
- Infection of the ear canal or middle ear
- Fluid in the middle ear
- Perforation or scarring of the eardrum
- Wax build-up
- Dislocation of the ossicles (three middle – ear bones)
- Foreign objects in the ear canal
- Unusual growths and tumours
Mixed Hearing Loss occurs when there is a combination of both sensorineural and conductive issues. In other words, both the middle ear and inner ear are affected.