Hearing loss is a common problem; it is often associated with ageing or prolonged exposure to loud noise. In most cases, hearing loss is a gradual process and you may notice that you increase the volume of your television or the radio in the car or find yourself asking people to repeat what they have said on an increasingly regular basis, rather than suddenly noticing that a major change in your hearing abilities.
What causes hearing loss?
Hearing tends to deteriorate with age, but there are other causes of hearing loss; loss of hearing occurs when sound signals, which are transmitted from the ears, are unable to reach the brain and this means that you cannot process tem and therefore don’t hear the sound. There are two main types of hearing loss: sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the sensitive hairs inside the cell or the auditory nerve become damaged; this is commonly associated with getting older, but it may also result from an injury or accident.
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound signals cannot pass from the outer inner to the inner ear; this may result from a blockage, such as ear wax, a perforated or damaged ear drum, an ear infection or problems that affect the tiny bones inside the ear.
Sometimes, your job may increase your risk of hearing loss; this may be the case if you work with machinery or power tools, you are exposed to noisy environments or you work within the music or sound engineering industry. If you have a job, which carries a risk of industrial hearing loss, you should take steps to protect your hearing, such as wearing ear defenders.
If you think that your hearing is deteriorating, you notice difficulties on a daily basis or your hearing problems are affecting you, it is a good idea to seek help. A hearing test can help to confirm whether your hearing has gone downhill and also, ascertain how well you can hear and whether you would benefit from more regular tests or treatment, such as a hearing aid. Contact your GP or book a private hearing test through a private clinic or dispensary; many high street opticians now offer hearing tests and often, they are available free of charge.
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