Hearing loss can happen suddenly or over a long period of time; it can also be temporary or permanent. At the Hearing Centre we specialise in diagnosing a wide range of hearing impairments in the Leicester area.

Here audiologist Claire Marshall takes a look at some of the most common types of hearing loss.

The symptoms of hearing loss

The signs of hearing loss will vary in type and intensity, but as a general guide anyone suffering from any of the following symptoms shouldn’t delay in booking an appointment with an audiologist to work out what is causing their hearing impairment:

  • Difficulty in hearing what others are saying, especially when there is background noise
  • Having to ask people to repeat themselves on a regular basis
  • Finding it difficult to keep track of conversations in social situations
  • Others commenting that your music or TV volume is louder than they would like it to be
  • Noticing that your hearing is affected in one ear only

Sudden hearing loss

Sudden hearing loss relating to the inner ear is known as sudden sensorineural hearing loss and happens when damage is caused to the sensory organs of the inner ear. Sudden deafness can happen in an instant or over a few hours and can affect one or both ears. Whatever the circumstances of sudden deafness, it’s vital to make an emergency appointment with a specialist audiologist or your GP as soon as possible.

Sudden hearing loss in one ear

Common causes of sudden hearing loss in one ear can be due to an accumulation of earwax, an ear infection or a perforated eardrum. This type of hearing loss is known as conductive hearing loss. The good news is that although ear infections and burst eardrums can be painful, they often clear up on their own or with the help of antibiotics. At the Hearing Centre we use a microsuction technique to remove earwax and restore hearing to normal.

Sudden hearing loss in both ears

Often sudden hearing loss in both ears is a result of being exposed to an extremely loud noise such as a gunshot or an explosion. It can also happen as a side effect of certain medications or as a result of health problems relating to head trauma, autoimmune disease, blood trauma and neurological disease.

Gradual hearing loss

Again, gradual hearing loss can occur in one or both ears. When it happens in just one ear, it is usually due to an obstruction in the ear. Causes of ear blockages include earwax, fluid (glue ear) and abnormal bone growth (otosclerosis). When gradual hearing loss happens in both ears in people in their forties and over, it is very often due to the natural effects of ageing. However, gradual hearing loss in both ears can also be caused by obstructions in the ear such a build-up of earwax, prolonged exposure to loud noise over a period of years or by medical conditions including Ménière’s disease, which also causes vertigo and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

Preventing hearing loss

As with most medical conditions, hearing loss is not always something we can control. However, by following these easy tips, you can ensure you’ve done all you can to prevent avoidable hearing loss:

  • Use noise-cancelling headphones instead of turning up the volume
  • If your device has a red ‘warning zone’ for volume, make sure you keep the volume under this level when listening with headphones
  • Make sure your TV, radio or music isn’t turned up too loud
  • If your job involves exposure to loud noise, make sure you are equipped with the appropriate ear protection
  • If you frequently go to loud concerts or events, consider using ear protection
  • Never insert cotton buds, fingers, cotton wool, tissues or other objects into your ears

Treating hearing loss

At the Hearing Centre we use our technologically advanced and comprehensive hearing test to conduct a thorough investigation and diagnose what kind of hearing loss you are suffering from. From there, we can advise on the best course of action to restore your hearing to normal levels, using our state of the art hearing aids where appropriate. To get advice from a specialist audiologist in Leicester, please call us on 0116 254 3909 or fill in our online booking form.