What is Hearing Loss?
Did you know that we hear with our brains, not our ears? Our ears are simply the organs that transmit sound to the brain.
That’s why hearing loss can cause symptoms like tiredness and fatigue, because if we’re struggling to hear, our brains have to work harder to process and evaluate the reduced level of information transmitted.
Which means it’s very important to be able to hear the widest range of sounds, as clearly as possible.
Common symptoms of hearing loss include:
- Difficulty hearing when there is mild to moderate background noise
- Needing the TV or music to be louder than others require
- Feeling as though people are mumbling or speaking quietly
- Being unable to follow conversations with more than one person in a group setting
For many sufferers, hearing loss leads to frustration, social isolation, fatigue and, in some cases, depression. If you are one of the many people experiencing hearing loss, it’s crucial you seek help as soon as possible.
Hearing devices not only allow you to hear sounds better, but will also restore your confidence and reduce health issues that can stem from hearing loss.
See also our Guide to Hearing Loss and Hearing Aid Prescription
You’re not alone in experiencing hearing loss
One in six Australians are affected by hearing loss, that is 3.9 million people. Most commonly, hearing loss is often a gradual process and the amount of people with a permanent hearing loss increases significantly with age:
- 1 in 5 start to experience age related hearing loss in their mid-fifties which typically affects perception in high sound frequencies.
- 1 in 3 over the age of 65, with males experiencing relatively higher levels of hearing loss.
As this type of hearing loss occurs gradually over many years, many sufferers aren’t fully aware of what they’re missing.
If you think you may be experiencing hearing loss, take our quick online hearing test in the comfort of your own home, or book a full hearing assessment at one of our Partner Clinics by contacting The Hearing Care Shop.
Types of Hearing Loss
1. Conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently through the outer ear canal to the eardrum and the tiny bones (ossicles) of the middle ear. This type of hearing loss usually involves a reduction in sound level or the ability to hear faint sounds.
Causes for conductive hearing loss include:
- fluid in the middle ear
- ear infection
- excessive wax
- swimmer’s ear
- perforated eardrum
In many cases, conductive hearing loss can be treated and the hearing restored.
2. Sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea), or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain.
In most cases, the tiny sensory hair cells have been damaged and can no longer transduce information to the auditory nerve. Sensorineural hearing loss reduces the ability to hear faint sounds, so even when speech is loud enough to hear, it may still be unclear or sound muffled.
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of permanent hearing loss. Causes of this type of hearing loss include:
- genetic or hereditary hearing loss
- exposure to loud noise
- malformation of the inner ear
3. Mixed hearing loss
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Level
An audiogram is a graphical representation of your hearing loss, plotted at the different frequencies and decibels your hearing was tested at. Normal hearing is at 20db.