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Hearing loss is the loss of hearing in one or both ears. Ranging from mild to profound, there are many causes, and it can affect anyone at any age – although people over 60 are at greater risk.

Hearing loss in any form is challenging and can have a negative impact on not only the sufferer but those around them. Bearing this in mind, it’s wise to keep an eye out for the signs of hearing loss so you can be alert to any problems with your hearing or that of your loved ones.

Boots Hearingcare looks at some of the key information on hearing loss, its impact, and the benefits of early intervention…

Overview:

In most cases, hearing loss can be improved by a hearing aid. Read on to find out more about hearing loss, its causes, and how hearing aids can help.  

Important: If you feel that your hearing may have deteriorated recently, don’t hesitate to book your free hearing test with a Boots audiologist.

What causes loss of hearing?

Hearing loss can be brought on by many things. Identifying the cause of your hearing loss may be the first step in treating it, or at least managing its effects.
Common causes of hearing loss include: As a matter of urgency, make sure you tell your doctor about any of the above. This will help guide any hearing loss treatment and management plan.

What are the first signs of hearing loss?

Because hearing loss can happen gradually, it’s not unusual for people to be living with symptoms for some time. Bearing this in mind, then, you should get clued up on the most common signs of hearing loss to prevent any unnecessary suffering for you and your loved ones. 
Things to look out for include:
  • Difficulty hearing other people clearly
  • Trouble hearing whilst on the phone
  • Misunderstanding what is being said, especially in noisy places
  • Asking people to repeat themselves
  • Turning up the TV volume too loud for others
  • Withdrawal from conversations
  • A reluctance to socialise
If you notice any of these or have worries about unusual changes, make an appointment to see your doctor immediately.

What happens when you have hearing loss?

Naturally, the first thing to happen when you have hearing loss is panic, followed by feelings of anxiety, anger, frustration and hopelessness. Losing your hearing is a big loss and because of the social consequences, a hearing-impaired person will often retreat from social interactions. The problem is not just in the person’s inability to hear but also how badly they can handle being without such an integral part of their life.
 

Can hearing loss be prevented?

Hearing loss may happen as you get older, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that can help slow down the process.

Some ways to prevent hearing loss include:
  • Avoid loud noises
  • Keep headphone volume low
  • Wear ear plugs or protective earmuffs
  • Use quieter products
  • Get your hearing tested
While it’s impossible to know whether your hearing is benefiting from these measures, ensuring precautions are taken will limit potentially harmful listening habits.

What are the three types of hearing loss?

Although hearing loss affects people in different ways, there are three main types to be aware of – and the symptoms can often vary. These include:
  • Conductive: This is when the passage of sound is blocked in either the ear canal or middle ear, usually due to an obstruction or trauma. It can affect one of both ears.
  • Sensorineural: Accounting for about 90% of reported hearing loss, this is the most common form of hearing loss and is due to nerve damage.
  • Mixed: A combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, meaning there’s damage to both the outer and inner ear.
If you suspect any of the above, take yourself for a check-up at the doctor’s.

Frequently asked questions

Can hearing loss affect memory?
Hearing plays a major role in keeping your memory and brain sharp. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to impaired memory, balance issues and even dementia. This is why it’s important to make sure your hearing health is as well looked after as possible.
 
Can hearing loss be cured?
Hearing loss can be treated but not restored. Most of the time, a hearing aid will be the best solution.
Can hearing loss be genetic?
Those with a family history of hearing loss are more likely to experience it themselves. It’s important your doctor knows about any family history of hearing loss. You will most likely be referred on for additional testing and monitoring.
Can hearing loss cause headaches?
Headaches are a secondary symptom of hearing loss. Although hearing loss with headaches may also signal that you have an underlying ear condition. Book an appointment with your doctor to check there’s no problem.
Can hearing loss cause depression?
If left untreated, you can develop depression as a result of hearing loss. This is because adjusting to everyday life without one of the five senses often proves difficult, particularly if you are a sociable person. Speak to your GP about possible treatments for hearing loss.
Any kind of hearing loss is scary, but you don’t have to suffer alone. If you have a problem with hearing loss, get help from your doctor or a qualified audiologist.

Do you have any issues related to hearing loss? Arrange a consultation with a specialist at Boots Hearingcare to go through your case...
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