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Hearing loss is a fairly common condition, with 1 in 5 adults suffering from it. The good news is that there is plenty of help and effective ways of treating hearing loss. If you suspect that you or one of your loved ones suffers from hearing loss, you’re in the right place. On this page you will learn more about:

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Hearing loss is more common than you might think.

  • Hearing loss is the 3rd most common health condition among adults.

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    About 1 in 5 adults has a hearing loss.

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    On average, people with hearing loss wait 7-10 years before getting treatment.

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    80% of people aged 55-74 years who could benefit from hearing aids do not use them.

Signs and symptoms of hearing loss

Below is a list of the most common signs of hearing loss. If you recognise any of the symptoms, it is a good idea to get a hearing test at your local hearing clinic. The symptoms of hearing loss depend on the type of hearing loss, the degree of hearing loss and the cause of the hearing loss.

Sign 1 - You often ask others to repeat themselves.
Sign 2 - You can’t hear voices clearly over the phone.
Sign 3 - You turn up the volume on the TV loud enough to bother others.
Sign 4 - You have continuous ringing in your ear(s).
Sign 5 - You have trouble following conversations in noisy environments.

Read more about signs of hearing loss

Do you recognise any of the above signs of hearing loss?

If you or someone you know can relate to any of the symptoms listed above, then it may be an indication of hearing loss, and you should get your hearing tested.

Get a free hearing test

Hearing loss severity

The degree of hearing loss can be classified according to the severity of the hearing problem. It is measured in decibels (dB), referring to how loud sounds need to be for you to hear them.

  1. Normal hearing (≤25 dB) No perceived hearing loss symptoms.
  2. Mild hearing loss (26-40 dB) When you have mild hearing loss, the quietest sounds you can hear with your better ear are between 26 and 40 dB. Quiet and soft conversation or situations with background noise becomes difficult to understand.
  3. Moderate hearing loss (41-60 dB) When you have moderate hearing loss, the quietest sounds you can hear with your better ear are between 41 and 60 dB. Higher volume levels are required for radio and television.
  4. Severe hearing loss (61-80 dB) When you have severe hearing loss, the quietest sounds you can hear with your better ear are between 61 and 80 dB. You have difficulties with speech and group conversations and comprehension is impossible without amplification..
  5. Profound hearing loss (≥81 dB) When you have profound hearing loss, the quietest sounds you can hear with your better ear are 81 dB or more. It is difficult or impossible to hear and understand amplified devices or speech.

Types of hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss
The most common type of hearing loss is called sensorineural hearing loss and it involves the inner ear. It can be caused by damage to tiny hair-like cells in the inner ear or damage to the auditory nerve. Often this type of hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids.

Conductive hearing loss
This type of hearing loss comes from a mechanical problem in the middle or outer part of the ear. Conductive hearing loss can also be caused by an obstruction of some sort in the canal of the ear, such as ear wax preventing sound from getting to the ear drum. It can be assisted by hearing aids or other medical options.

Mixed hearing loss
Mixed hearing loss is when both aspects of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss are present.
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The auditory system

There are many parts of your auditory system working together to help you hear. A malfunction, damage, or obstruction to one or more of those components can result in hearing loss. Because each part of your auditory system performs a specific role in hearing and processing sound, specific treatment is required to assist or repair their function. 

  1. The outer ear – The external part of the ear, which collects sound waves and directs them into the ear.

  2. The middle ear – The middle ear transmits sound from the outer ear to the inner ear.

  3. The inner ear – The inner ear consists of the cochlea, the inner ear balance mechanism, the vestibular nerve, and the auditory nerve.

Hearing loss treatment

Hearing loss is a well-researched condition, and many resources have been put into developing hearing loss treatment. There is no treatment that will cure hearing loss, however there are several options available that can rehabilitate your hearing depending on your type of hearing loss.

The best solution for your type of hearing loss can be selected in a meeting between you and your hearing care expert. The solution will depend upon:

  • Your type of hearing loss

  • Your degree of hearing loss

  • The cause(s) of your hearing loss, if known

  • Your lifestyle, interests, cosmetic preferences and communication needs

  • Your budget

Tip from an audiologist

If you are looking for hearing loss treatment, starting the process as soon as possible is key to improving your quality of life, so that you can enjoy your favorite activities again – such as engaging in conversations with friends and family or watching your favourite TV show again.

Book a free hearing test

Test for hearing loss
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Test for hearing loss

Step 1 - Study the signs of hearing loss listed above and see if you recognize any of them. You can also take our free online hearing test and get an immediate indication of your hearing health.

Step 2 - If you recognise any of the signs of hearing loss, you can contact our call center and book a free hearing test in a hearing clinic near you.

Step 3 - At the hearing clinic, you will have a conversation with a specialist in hearing loss and hearing care. You will go through a hearing test and receive a hearing health diagnosis. It’s free of charge, and there are no obligations of any kind.

Step 4 - If you have a hearing loss, the audiologist will run through the various options. If the best solution is a hearing aid, you can try an appropriate model for free and see if it improves your overall quality of life.

Learn more about hearing loss treatment

What happens at a hearing test? 

You will have your ears examined and your hearing tested. In case you have a hearing loss, we will show you an audiogram and explain if and how we can help hear better.

If you suspect that you have a hearing loss, you are more than welcome to request a free hearing test in one of our clinics nearest to you.

Book a free hearing test

Hearing loss can occur at any age. Although old age or exposure to loud noise are the most common causes of hearing loss, an infection, injury or genetics can be among the causes for hearing loss as well. Understanding the source of your issues gives our professionals insight into your needs, so we can advise you with the best options for your specific treatment. That's why we encourage you to speak with our professionals as soon as you notice any hearing difficulties.

Common causes of hearing loss include:
  • Ageing

  • Excessive noise exposure

  • Injury
  • Viral infections (such as measles or mumps)

  • Wax buildup

  • Ototoxic drugs (medications that damage hearing)

  • Genetics

Learn more about causes of hearing loss

How to prevent hearing loss

Although there is no official cure for age-related hearing loss and no guaranteed hearing loss prevention method, there are steps you can take to reduce your likelihood of developing hearing loss over your lifetime. Learn more about healthy hearing practices and hearing protection solutions that could help keep hearing loss at bay.

Read more about preventing hearing loss

yvonne-1-wat-today-copy-230x300Ms Yvonne Doyle, Senior Hearing Aid Audiologist

Ms Yvonne Doyle has been working with Hidden Hearing since 2011. Ms Doyle won the 2017 'Irish Audiologist of the Year'. The competition is organised by leading hearing aid battery manufacturer Rayovac. Yvonne's knowledge in communication disorders has helped a wide range of patients, including both adults and children with hearing loss. Yvonne provides screenings, hearing tests, aural rehabilitation and has an extensive knowledge of both conventional and digital hearing instruments.

You might also find these pages interesting

Sensorineural hearing loss
Types of hearing aids
Online hearing test