HEARING LOSS

How do we hear?

The human ear is a precisely engineered system with a sensitivity and range that outperforms the most elaborate sound system ever manufactured. The ear contains many physiological mechanisms, and a breakdown or disruption in any of these can result in hearing difficulties.

The ear is made out of three different parts:

YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) The Outer Ear: The part of the ear that is visible acts as a funnel to direct sound into the inner parts of the ear.

YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) The Middle Ear: The eardrum is the first part which is connected to the chain of the three smallest bones in your body: the hammer, anvil and stirrup. From here sound is directed to the inner ear.

YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) The Inner Ear: Sound waves reached the snail-like hearing organ which contains small hair cells which transmits a message via the hearing nerve to the area of the brain in charge of processing and interpreting what we hear.

Hearing loss types

Hearing loss happens if anything goes wrong in any single part of this hearing mechanism. We classify hearing loss into two main types:

Sensorineural hearing loss


This involves damage to the hair cells in the hearing organ or the auditory nerve. This is usually permanent damage and cannot be treated medically. Treatment usually involves hearing aids.

Conductive hearing loss


This involves any physical obstruction or interference with conduction of sound through the ear canal, eardrum and middle ear bones. Conductive hearing loss can sometimes be treated medically and use of a hearing aid are indicated when surgery/other medical intervention is not possible or in the process of happening and the individual needs amplification in the interim.

Hearing loss types

Hearing loss happens if anything goes wrong in any single part of this hearing mechanism. We classify hearing loss into two main types:

Sensorineural hearing loss


This involves damage to the hair cells in the hearing organ or the auditory nerve. This is usually permanent damage and cannot be treated medically. Treatment usually involves hearing aids.

Conductive hearing loss


This involves any physical obstruction or interference with conduction of sound through the ear canal, eardrum and middle ear bones. Conductive hearing loss can sometimes be treated medically and use of a hearing aid are indicated when surgery/other medical intervention is not possible or in the process of happening and the individual needs amplification in the interim.
YVDW-Audiologists-hearing-loss-types of hearing loss

Causes of hearing loss

Noise Exposure

Noise Exposure

Exposure to loud sounds may damage the outer hair cells in the hearing organ.

Chronic Conditions

Chronic Conditions

High blood pressure, diabetes and certain auto-immune diseases are contributing factors to hearing loss.

Genetic Factors

Genetic Factors

Certain genetic factors might make you more prone to hearing loss, or more prone to acquire hearing loss earlier in life.

Medication

Medication

Certain antibiotic, chemotherapeutic and antimalarial drugs can damage the hair cells in the inner ear.

Ageing

Ageing

The aging process causes a slow decline in hearing from as early as 35 years of age. Nerve/Brain Conditions/Damage to the auditory nerve/cortex such as stroke/tumor can lead to hearing loss

Illnesses

Illnesses

A variety of illnesses might cause permanent damage to parts of the hearing mechanism. Illnesses include the following: Meniere’s disease/Meningitis/Mumps/Flu and many more.

Symptoms of hearing loss

If you have any one of the following symptoms, we recommend that you undergo a full diagnostic hearing test!

YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Listening to television or radio at a higher volume than others prefer
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Trouble understanding speech, especially in noisy environments
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) The perception that others are mumbling
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Difficulty hearing people on the phone
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Asking people to repeat themselves
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Avoiding social situations
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Exhaustion after attending social events.
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Friends or family saying (perhaps jokingly) that it is time for a hearing test
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears

Know your hearing status in 3 minutes by doing our FREE online hearing test!

Symptoms of hearing loss

If you have any one of the following symptoms, we recommend that you undergo a full diagnostic hearing test!

YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Listening to television or radio at a higher volume than others prefer
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Trouble understanding speech, especially in noisy environments
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) The perception that others are mumbling
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Difficulty hearing people on the phone
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Asking people to repeat themselves
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Avoiding social situations
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Exhaustion after attending social events.
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Friends or family saying (perhaps jokingly) that it is time for a hearing test
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears

Know your hearing status in 3 minutes by doing our FREE online hearing test!

YVDW-Audiologists-hearing-loss-symptoms

I probably have a hearing loss – what should I do?

The first essential step is always a diagnostic hearing test at a trusted audiologist.

Click here to find out more about a hearing evaluation at our practice. After your assessment we will tell you whether there is a problem, how big the problem is and what the options are.

If there is a hearing loss, chances are that hearing aids will be of benefit to you. If your hearing loss is treatable with hearing aids, your audiologist will review options with you.

By building a clear picture of the person you are, the way you choose to live your life and the situations you most enjoy the sounds of, your hearing care professional can ensure you will get the most out of your hearing instrument.

Click here to read more on hearing aids and treatment options.

I probably have a hearing loss – what should I do?

The first essential step is always a diagnostic hearing test at a trusted audiologist.

Click here to find out more about a hearing evaluation at our practice. After your assessment we will tell you whether there is a problem, how big the problem is and what the options are.

If there is a hearing loss, chances are that hearing aids will be of benefit to you. If your hearing loss is treatable with hearing aids, your audiologist will review options with you.

By building a clear picture of the person you are, the way you choose to live your life and the situations you most enjoy the sounds of, your hearing care professional can ensure you will get the most out of your hearing instrument.

Click here to read more on hearing aids and treatment options.

YVDW-Audiologists-hearing-loss-what-should-i-do

What will happen if I leave my hearing loss untreated?

Untreated hearing loss has shown to have serious social, emotional, physiological and psychological effects on an individual. The single most devastating effect of untreated hearing loss is Auditory Deprivation.

When the auditory nerve and areas in the brain responsible for processing and interpreting of sound are deprived of sound, they atrophy or weaken. This is referred to as “Auditory deprivation”.

The single most important key to hearing better for longer is to keep the hearing mechanism active and not let it weaken. This is done through the use of hearing aids – even if the hearing loss is very minimal. The earlier the hearing loss is treated, the better your outcome with hearing aids will be in the long term. A growing body of evidence shows that cognitive decline is significantly accelerated when you have hearing loss and don’t use hearing aids.

Read more...

The prestigious and highly regarded Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found no difference in the rate of cognitive decline between people with no reported hearing loss and people with hearing loss who used hearing aids. In fact, people with hearing loss who wear hearing aids had the same risk for age-related cognitive decline as people without hearing loss.  When you actively use hearing aids, you are more likely to stay socially engaged, one of the primary ways to stimulate your brain. Like any exercise, the mental give-and-take of social interaction helps to keep your brain fit and slow down accelerated cognitive decline.

Untreated hearing loss can also cause:

YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Irritability, negativism, anger
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Fatigue, tension, stress and depression
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Avoidance or withdrawal from social situations and relationships
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Reduced job performance
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Diminished psychological and overall health

What will happen if I leave my hearing loss untreated?

Untreated hearing loss has shown to have serious social, emotional, physiological and psychological effects on an individual. The single most devastating effect of untreated hearing loss is Auditory Deprivation.

When the auditory nerve and areas in the brain responsible for processing and interpreting of sound are deprived of sound, they atrophy or weaken. This is referred to as “Auditory deprivation”.

The single most important key to hearing better for longer is to keep the hearing mechanism active and not let it weaken. This is done through the use of hearing aids – even if the hearing loss is very minimal. The earlier the hearing loss is treated, the better your outcome with hearing aids will be in the long term. A growing body of evidence shows that cognitive decline is significantly accelerated when you have hearing loss and don’t use hearing aids.

Read more...

The prestigious and highly regarded Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found no difference in the rate of cognitive decline between people with no reported hearing loss and people with hearing loss who used hearing aids. In fact, people with hearing loss who wear hearing aids had the same risk for age-related cognitive decline as people without hearing loss.  When you actively use hearing aids, you are more likely to stay socially engaged, one of the primary ways to stimulate your brain. Like any exercise, the mental give-and-take of social interaction helps to keep your brain fit and slow down accelerated cognitive decline.

Untreated hearing loss can also cause:

YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Irritability, negativism, anger
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Fatigue, tension, stress and depression
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Avoidance or withdrawal from social situations and relationships
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Reduced job performance
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Diminished psychological and overall health

YVDW-Audiologists-hearing-loss-left-untreated

How does a hearing loss sound?

Individuals in the following situations should take special care:

YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Hunters
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Musicians / DJ’s / Sound Engineers
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Sport shooters / fire arm operators

YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Law enforcement officers
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Labourers of industries/mines
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Motorcyclists

YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Hair Dressers
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Dentists
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Teachers

YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px)Truck drivers
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Crane truck operators

Prevention of hearing loss

Individuals exposed to loud sound should be vigilant in protecting their hearing through the use of hearing protection mechanisms. Sounds greater than 85dB may cause permanent damage to your hearing. There is a correlation between the duration of exposure to loud sound and the intensity of sound:

SOUNDINTENSITYPERMISSIBLE EXPOSURE TIME
City traffic (inside the car)85dB8 hours
Bulldozer88dB4 hours
Jazz concert91dB2 hours
Lawn Mower94dB1 hour
Night Club97dB30 minutes
Ambulance siren (inside driver with open window)100dB15 minutes
Rock concert or leaf blower115dB30 seconds
Gunfire (shooter)120dB +Immediate damage

Hearing protection

YVDW AUdiologist-hearing protection-custom-long

Custom made hearing protectors are ear plugs manufactured exactly according to your ears unique shape. A variety of models are available for different needs.

Products available includes:

YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Mechanical plugs made from acrylic or silicone with fixed mechanical filters, adjustable filters or no filters
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px)  Electronic devices with compression and amplification systems are ideal for hunters and sport shooters.
YVDW Audiologists-Favicon (180px) Old fashioned earmuffs. These are often the industry standard but it has been proven that they are not effective as one would think.