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Hearing Loss Signs

Hearing loss is more common than you think. In fact, it affects more than 10% of Canadians, yet only one in every six of those wear a hearing aid. 

Many times, individuals will ignore common signs of hearing loss due to anxiety around an assessment, or they may not even realize that their symptoms are a sign of hearing loss. Common signs include:

 

  • Troubles hearing at a distance
  • Difficulties hearing in loud/noisy environments such as restaurants
  • Others often tell you that you are speaking too loud
  • Those around you seem to mumble
  • Friends, family or neighbors complain that you play music or the TV too loud
  • Trouble hearing soft sounds, such as birds chirping or children speaking
  • Frequently asking others to repeat themselves
  • Trouble hearing common household sounds, such as water dripping from the tap, or a knock at the door

    The best way to determine if you have hearing loss is to add a Hearing Health Check to your regimen of annual health checkups.  It’s not painful, and it’ll help you avoid many headaches and heartaches.

Causes of Hearing loss

There are a few different types of hearing loss: Conductive, Sensorineural and Mixed.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

This is the most common type of hearing loss. It occurs when damaged hair cells in the cochlea prevent the transmission of signals of sound through the auditory nerve, to the auditory part of the brain. Although this type of hearing loss is non-reversible, the use of hearing aids can allow you to hear healthy again! Common causes of this type of hearing loss include:

  • Natural aging
  • Exposure to loud noises
  • Genetics
  • Specific medications

Conductive Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss is experienced when there is an obstruction in the outer or middle ear. This prevents the sound from passing through the auditory pathway. This type of hearing loss can typically be treated with medical intervention. Common causes include:

  • Ear wax build up
  • Infections in the ear canal
  • Fluid behind the eardrum
  • Otosclerosis, which is a stiffening of the bones in the middle ear

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing loss can range from mild to profound.

Tinnitus

Have you ever been to an extremely loud concert? Pretty loud experiences, right? In fact, you probably noticed on your way home from the concert that you had a sound of ringing in your ears!

This sensation of hearing ringing, or buzzing in your ears, is Tinnitus! Tinnitus is the perceived sound of buzzing, hissing or ringing in the ears, when in reality there is no sound present. The scenario described above is temporary, and for most of us would subside in a matter of hours. However, some individuals experience this on a daily basis which can become frustrating and limited to a person’s ability to enjoy their everyday life. It can cause issues such as insomnia, depression, stress, anxiety and memory problems.

About 15-20% of people experience tinnitus, however it is typically a warning sign of something else going on and not a medical condition itself. Some common causes of tinnitus include:

  • Prolonged exposure to loud sounds
  • Age related hearing loss
  • Ear wax build up
  • Changes to the Ear Bone
  • Medications such as antibiotics, cancer treatments and antidepressants
  • High blood pressure

What can you do if you are experiencing Tinnitus?

Although there is not a cure, there are some ways you can manage Tinnitus. Going for a hearing assessment would be a great first step. Other treatments include:

  • Use of hearing aids, many of today’s technologies are designed with Tinnitus blocking features
  • Ear wax removal
  • Adjusting your medications with your Physician
  • Stress reducing activities such as yoga and meditation

If you or a loved one are experiencing ringing in the ears, we are here to help you!

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Hearing and Your Overall Health

Being able to hear is an invaluable part of living an active and full life.  It connects us to the people around us, allows us to experience activities in places that we enjoy and protects us from potentially dangerous situations.

Did you know that more than 5% of the world’s population have disabling hearing loss?  On average, people with hearing loss wait as long as 10 years before seeking help.  If you’re unable to hear well, it can become difficult to understand and interact with those around you. 

Untreated hearing loss, in all of its various forms, can be detrimental to both your mental well-being as well as your physical health.  You may find yourself avoiding social situations, since the strain of trying to understand speech can be mentally and physically exhausting.  You may have a greater risk for depression and anxiety, and you could even descend into dementia as you get older.  Plus, hearing loss can be an indicator of cardiovascular disease.

Hearing well allows us to be socially active, environmentally aware and mentally stimulated, without barriers.  Treating your hearing loss and using hearing aids can improve your overall quality of life.

We can help to determine a treatment option that suits your hearing loss, cause of hearing loss and lifestyle so that you can get back to embracing life to the fullest extent.