What is hearing loss?

Hearing loss is when your ability to hear is greatly reduced. Living with a hearing loss makes it difficult for you to hear speech and other sounds in the world around you. Hearing loss is quite common these days but the good news is that it is treatable. The most common causes of hearing loss are loud noises and aging. In most cases, a hearing loss cannot be cured, but treated with hearing aids.

Causes of hearing loss

Hearing loss can be caused by many factors, but age and repeated exposure to loud noises are the two most common causes.

The loss of hearing is a natural consequence of getting older. Our ability to hear starts to decline in our 40s and onwards. When we reach our 80s, more than half will suffer from severe hearing loss.

Another common reason for hearing loss is exposure to loud noises. It can be from your living situation if you live in a noisy environment, your job, or the activities you love – such as attending loud rock concerts, going to night clubs or listening to the stereo too loud. In the ear headphones can also damage your hearing if the volume exceeds normal listening levels.

Hearing loss can also occur as a result of other causes:

  • Some diseases
  • Ear infections
  • Medications and drugs
  • Damages to the ears
  • Injuries to the head
  • Blockage of the ear
  • Genetic factors
  • Tumors in the head
  • Alcohol and tobacco
  • Solvents
  • High cholesterol

Types of hearing loss

There are two main types of hearing loss: sensorineural or conductive. In some cases, you can have a mixed hearing loss which is a combination of the two hearing losses.

Sensorineural hearing loss results from damage to the tiny hair cells in the inner ear. Age-related hearing loss is also known as Presbycusis and is a type of sensorineural hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss is also a type of sensorineural hearing loss and is permanent hearing loss caused by repeated or prolonged exposure to high levels of noise.

Conductive hearing loss occurs when the ears’ ability to conduct sound from the outer ear through the middle ear and into the inner ear is blocked.

Some may experience hearing loss in only one ear, this is known as unilateral hearing loss or single-sided deafness. Hearing loss in both ears is referred to as bilateral hearing loss.

Sudden hearing loss is common and occurs suddenly as its name suggests. The reason for sudden deafness is unknown.

Untreated hearing loss

Untreated hearing loss has been connected to cognitive decline, dementia, balance issues, social isolation, and Alzheimer’s. Untreated hearing loss can impact your health as well as your well-being.

Get your hearing tested

We offer free hearing tests at all of our locations. We will test your hearing and explain to you the type of hearing loss you have and your options to combat it.