All about hearing loss

Hearing loss is noticeable when sounds become muffled, making it difficult to understand conversations or hear birds chirping. One in five people suffers from some form of hearing loss worldwide. And for those over the age of 65, this figure increases to one in three.

What causes hearing loss?

Hearing loss is normally due to damaged hair cells in the cochlea. As we grow older, hair cells lose some of their function, and hearing deteriorates. In other cases, hearing loss can arise from brain damage, genetic disposition, or prolonged exposure to excessively loud noise.

What kinds of hearing loss are there?

There are three types of hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the inner ear, or the auditory nerve is damaged. It is the most common type of hearing loss and is, in a majority of cases, permanent.

Conductive hearing loss arises when sounds are unable to pass from the outer ear to the inner ear, which can be caused by a blockage such as earwax or damage to the eardrum or ossicular bones. It is in many cases temporary and can be treated medically.

Mixed hearing loss is when both sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss occur in the same ear. Treatment for the conductive component can help alleviate the degree of the hearing loss but the underlying sensorineural hearing loss will remain.

What are the signs and symptoms of hearing loss?

Because most cases of hearing loss develop gradually, the symptoms are often difficult to self-diagnose. Some signs pointing to hearing loss include:

  • Difficulty understanding others, especially in crowds or other background noise
  • Frequently asking others to speak up or to repeat themselves
  • Regularly turning up the volume of the television or radio
  • Habitually withdrawing from conversations or avoiding other social settings

What kind of problems can hearing loss cause?

Because hearing loss makes communication with others difficult, some people experience feelings of loneliness or isolation. Hearing loss is also associated with cognitive decline. The earlier it is addressed and treated, the better.

Do you think you have hearing loss?

Take our online hearing test now.

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How can Bernafon hearing aids help you?

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