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What is hearing loss?

When people struggle to understand speech or hear certain sounds, we call it a hearing loss. Some people are born with hearing loss, however, most people with hearing loss find their problems develop over time. Since it affects one of our most important senses, it is essential to seek effective treatment.

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People suffering from hearing loss tend to find environments with background noise difficult, especially restaurants and public places. They often find it difficult to hear high-pitched sounds. Due to this, people have problems hearing the sounds ‘s’, ‘f’ and ‘sh’. This makes conversations more tiring. Due to these factors, hearing loss is one of the causes of social withdrawal.

Facts about hearing loss

Hearing loss is usually diagnosed when a person is unable to hear 25 decibels in at least one ear during a hearing test. Deafness is usually classified as profound hearing loss. The minimum sound level that people with profound hearing loss can hear is about 95 dB.

Some people find that one ear hears better than the other. Loss of hearing in one ear is called unilateral hearing loss. Approximately 69% of hearing aid users in Europe have two devices.

  • Hearing loss figures

  • About 1 in 6 people currently have hearing loss

  • At the age of 65, 1 in 3 people have hearing loss

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

  • On average, people with hearing loss wait up to 15 years before getting treatment

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Types of hearing loss

Hearing problems can be mild, moderate, severe, or profound. Most people classified with ‘deafness’ have profound hearing loss, which implies very little or no hearing. It is possible to develop loss of hearing in one ear, although it usually affects both ears. Depending on the cause, hearing loss can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. Sudden hearing loss typically results from a loud noise event.

Physically, there are two types of hearing loss: sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss.

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What is tinnitus?

People with and without hearing loss hear sounds such as whooshing or ringing in the ears. Tinnitus is related to hearing loss, and people can gain some tinnitus relief from hearing aids. There is no tinnitus cure, but various tinnitus treatments can help to reduce the symptoms and their associated problems.

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Taking action on hearing loss – Visiting a professional

This first step is the critical one. But once you’ve made the first appointment with an audiologist, do you know what to do? One important consideration is to avoid going alone. When someone has hearing loss, it is often the people around them who notice more than the person themselves. Other people will be able to contribute more insights and the more information the audiologist gets, the more effective the treatment can be.

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Causes of hearing loss

Many people experience a gradual loss of hearing as they get older. Noise-induced hearing loss results from repeated exposure to loud noises such as machinery and loud music. A more sudden hearing loss can result from exposure to very loud noises. Hearing loss that is noise induced often results from damage to the hair cells in the cochlear, which lose sensitivity. Among the other hearing loss causes are drugs, diseases, and physical trauma.

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How is it to live with hearing loss?

Living with hearing loss takes a little adjustment, but with modern treatment and hearing instruments, you can live a full and active life. Small, invisible hearing aids can sit so far in the ear canal they are undetectable, and well out of the way – so you can continue with energetic activities and forget you are wearing them. Besides hearing aids, there a few simple considerations that can help you adjust.

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