One of the major causes of hearing loss can be aging when we naturally lose some of our hearing. Another common cause of hearing loss is long-term exposure to loud noises, such as noise experienced in the workplace, and loud music. Additionally, diseases, genes, gene mutations, as well as certain medications that present side effects can also cause hearing loss. 

Hearing loss can be identified by an audiologist as either sensorineural or conductive, although many people can experience both which is known as a mixed hearing loss. If you have a hearing loss in both ears, this is known as a bilateral hearing loss, while hearing loss in one ear is called unilateral hearing loss. 

A sensorineural hearing loss is the result of damage to the hair cells within the inner ear, and is commonly due to exposure to certain drugs, loud noise, ageing, diseases, or genetics. With a conductive hearing loss, the ability to conduct sound from the outer ear is reduced or lost due to foreign objects in the ear canal, a damaged eardrum, and in some cases, cysts, tumors, and diseases. Unlike sensorineural which is treated through long-term hearing aids, most cases of conductive hearing loss are temporary, and most can be cured. 

Sudden hearing loss can occur when there is a decrease of hearing by at least 30 decibels, and typically occurs in both men and women in their late 40s. It is commonly caused by ear blockage within the ear canal that prevents sound, such as through wax blockage or fluid behind your ear drum

With these types of hearing loss and common causes in mind, how can we recognize when we are experiencing hearing problems? 

How do I know if I am experiencing hearing loss?

While hearing loss is different for everyone, rarely causes pain or discomfort, and is a gradual process, it can present itself in a variety of common signs that you should be aware of.  For many people, the most common way to recognize hearing loss is to consider if you have noticed your hearing affecting your everyday life. It is important to be mindful of this, and to discuss any issues with an audiologist to understand the correct treatment that is most suitable for you.

You may find it difficult to watch TV without consistently turning up the volume or using subtitles, or often misunderstand what is being said and frequently ask people to repeat themselves. Important household noises such as the ringing of doorbells, telephones, and the running of water may also seem to be indistinct or even unheard entirely. 

Other signs of hearing loss that you may experience can be feeling as though people are speaking in a lower volume or mumbling, or having difficulty in following conversations in loud environments with many people such as parties or group gatherings, where conversations may be continually overlapping. Equally, you may experience difficulty in understanding what people are saying while talking on the phone.

As hearing loss affects sound travelling in higher frequencies, you may also experience trouble specifically hearing women and children due to their higher pitches compared to men. Many people with hearing problems also report tinnitus and, often describe this as a high-pitched ringing or buzzing sound in their ear. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these hearing loss symptoms, it can be a good indication that you need to get a hearing assessment completed with an audiologist. 

Leading factors of hearing loss that you may also want to discuss with an audiologist is if you have a family history of hearing loss, any underlying health conditions, or if you are taking any medication. 

Hearing impairments can often be underestimated by patients as well as their families. As hearing is a vital component to communication, the best call of action is to visit an audiologist here at Your Hearing Connection. Hearing loss should never be ignored, and can be easily treated with devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants for noticeable hearing improvement.

Depending on your hearing issue, your audiologist will determine what is best for you and will clearly outline the important after-care that is required. Your Hearing Connection is devoted to improving people’s lives through offering professional advice and treatment for better hearing. To learn more about our services and what we can do to benefit yours or a loved one’s hearing, please contact our expert team at 626-538-9920.