Hearing loss can occur at any age and there are a variety of contributing causes. In early stage hearing loss, high pitched sounds such as the voices of women and children become difficult to hear. Hearing loss can occur on its own or can be accompanied by tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
What are the Causes of Hearing Loss?
The most common cause of hearing loss is simply the ageing process. Our hearing begins to decline quite early in life, often in our thirties. However people do not tend to notice the hearing loss until it becomes more exaggerated, in their fifties and sixties. For people aged between 61 – 70 years old, hearing loss is common, with 1 in 3 being affected. In the 85 and over age group, over 8 out of 10 people have hearing loss.
The second most common cause of hearing loss is noise-related hearing loss. Our audiologist treats a range of age groups for noise-related hearing loss. Often, the patients have developed noise-related hearing loss at work, typically from professions that involve loud machinery, such as building. Musicians and DJs are also commonly affected. If noise in your workplace has affected your hearing, you may be entitled to subsidised hearing aids via the WorkCover insurance scheme.
Other causes of hearing loss include ear infections, diseases such as otosclerosis and meniere’s disease, tumors, some medications, head and ear trauma, build up of ear wax or a ruptured eardrum. You can be predisposed to hearing loss if there is a history of hearing loss in your family.
Symptoms of hearing loss:
- Ringing or noise in your ears that does not have an outside source (this is called tinnitus)
- Trouble understanding people on the telephone
- Difficulty participating in group conversation
- Others complain you have the TV up too loud.
- Difficulty hearing when there is a lot of background noise, such as a party or a restaurant.
- Difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds, such as the voices of women or children.
- Turning your head to one side (the side with good hearing) when listening to others.
- Lip reading and asking people to repeat themselves.
- Avoiding certain social situations because you will have trouble communicating.
What can you do if you suspect you have a hearing loss?
If you suspect you have a hearing loss, or work in an industry which puts your hearing at risk, we strongly encourage you to have your hearing tested. You can make an appointment with our audiologist today on 9370 0880. There are treatments available for hearing loss. Living with hearing loss for long periods of time can have serious consequences, including social isolation and depression. Living long term with untreated hearing loss increases the chance of dementia. Our audiologist can test your hearing at no cost if you have a GP referral, otherwise the cost of a hearing test is $50 (included in a hearing test is an examination of your general ear health and wax removal if needed). Once the audiologist tests your hearing, he compiles the results into a report called an audiogram. Based on your results, the audiologist will then advise you on the best course of action for your hearing loss.
Treatments for hearing loss include:
- Hearing aids
- Removal of ear wax
- Communication strategies
- Assistive listening devices (e.g. TV headphones)
- Cochlear implants