Hearing loss is when your ability to hear is reduced, making it harder for you to hear speech and other sounds.
What causes hearing loss?
The most common causes of hearing loss are noise and ageing. In most cases this cannot be cured, and it is usually treated by hearing aids. Loss of hearing is a part of ageing, and usually starts from our 40s onwards. There are a few more rare causes of hearing loss, including certain diseases, head injuries, and certain genetic factors.
The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) which is caused by damage to hair cells in the inner. Both age related hearing loss and noise-induced hearing loss are usually SNHL.
Does hearing loss occur in one ear or both ears?
Hearing loss can occur in both ears (bilateral hearing loss) or in one ear (single-sided hearing loss). Some people can tell for themselves which type they have, others need a hearing test to know if the hearing loss is in one ear or both. If the hearing loss is in both ears, you are likely to need a hearing aid for each ear.
How do I know if I have hearing loss
Normally hearing loss develops slowly, so it can be hard to realize you have hearing loss. Very often people only realize they have hearing loss when those closest to them point it out to them. If you are in any doubt you can get your hearing tested by an audiologist. Common signs include difficulty hearing people, asking people to repeat themselves, of having to watch television loudly.
Do I need hearing aids?
This really depends on how severe your hearing loss is, and how it is affecting you and those around you. Ultimately a qualified audiologist will be best placed to advise you, but your hearing health should not be neglected. Studies have shown that not purchasing hearing aids can lead to social isolation as it becomes harder to follow conversations. If you find yourself constantly having to turn up the TV or asking people to repeat themselves you probably need hearing aids, but should go to a doctor or audiologist to check.