Around one in six adults in the UK will experience some degree of hearing loss. Hearing loss usually develops slowly over time and because of this you may not realise that it is getting worse. This is because the small, sensitive hair-like cells within the inner ear get worn out over the years.
When this happens you don’t simply go deaf, but it becomes more and more difficult to understand sounds clearly, particularly speech, and that can be even trickier if there is background sound.
In social environments such as a pub or restaurant it can be much harder to hear what people are saying and this can become extremely frustrating as it can sound as though people are mumbling.
Many people whose hearing has deteriorated in this way complain that they can hear but that they cannot hear clearly and often find themselves excluded from social conversations. Some may even begin to avoid groups or situations that in the past they have enjoyed.
Causes of Hearing Loss
There are many factors that may cause you to suffer hearing loss. In most cases hearing loss is just part of the ageing process however there are other factors that can play a part, these include:
- Long-term exposure to excessive noise levels
- Illness / Infection
- Reactions / side effects to medication
- Blockages of the ear, such as wax
How to recognise the signs of hearing loss…
We are often unaware of how well or poorly we hear on an everyday basis. To find out if you may suffer from hearing loss simply answer the following questions:
- Do people around you seem to mumble and not speak clearly?
- Do you confuse words that sound alike?
- Do you often have to ask people to repeat things?
- Is it hard for you to understand when someone talks to you from the side or behind?
- Do you have trouble hearing high pitched tones (music, birdsong, children’s voices, etc)?
- Is it difficult for you to follow conversations in loud environments such as restaurants?
- Do you avoid social situations because it’s hard to follow other people’s conversations?
- Has anyone asked you to turn down the volume on your TV or Radio?
- Do you struggle hearing people on the phone?
- Do you struggle recognising the direction from which a car, for example, is approaching?
How would a hearing aid help?
Better hearing significantly enhances your quality of life. Modern digital hearing aids are designed to identify and amplify speech to make it louder and clearer at a more comfortable volume. Those who choose to address their hearing will comment that they experience higher self-esteem, regain their independence and enjoy closer relationships with family and friends.