What is Hearing Loss?

Firstly, Lets Explain How Your Hearing Works.

How Is The Ear Built?

Sound waves travel through 3 key parts of the ear. The outer ear (or the pinna), move inwards through the auditory canal, then vibrate. The vibration transforms because of tiny bones in the ear (malleus, incus and stapes). From there the inner ear (cochlea) begins to work. Through fluid and tiny hairs in the cochlea (cilia), electrical activity connects to neutrons and we hear sounds. We connect these sounds to images as we develop and once we can differentiate sounds, this is what we call hearing.

Hearing loss comes in different severities. For example, an elderly man may have difficulty hearing anything if he goes without hearing aids. But a younger woman might have difficulties hearing the highest note on a piano key, but otherwise, can easily hear other sounds without complications.

How Is Sound Measured?

We measure sound by hertz. While the intensity of a sound is measured in decibels from 0 to 140. To put it in perspective, the 140 would equal the sound of a gun shot blasting in your ear, while 0 would be absolute silence. If you were to hear constant gunshot blasts beside your ear, it would be very overwhelming and eventually, you’d suffer a severe degree of hearing loss.

What Triggers Hearing Loss?

Excessive noise, such as gun blasts, are a huge trigger for hearing loss. Repeated loud noises degenerates the quality of hearing of an individual over a period of time. This can be caused by simple triggers like listening to music loudly through ear buds, or even by the constant loud whirring of machines during construction services. Encouragingly, 71% of Australians believe listening to music through headphones will have the greatest impact on their hearing. Since loud music is a part of the excessive noise, it proves we understand how important small triggers are when related to our hearing.

Can Hearing Loss Be Fixed?

There is no cure for hearing loss but there are solutions that help correct and improve your hearing. A correctly fitted hearing aid can restore up the 80% of your hearing and can improve the quality of your life out of sight. At Hearing Choices we’re educating people about the effectiveness of modern listening devices. We’re also making hearing care more affordable and more accessible than ever before.

Types of Hearing Loss

There Are 3 Main Types Of Hearing Loss

In Conductive Hearing Loss, transduction of sound is impaired due to some kind of physical damage. As a result sound cannot be converted into action potential. Find out more here.

Also known as Labyrinthine Hearing Loss, Sensorineural loss occurs when sound sensing hair cells are impaired or damaged leading to hearing problems. Find out more here.

Combined Hearing Loss occurs when both Sensorineural (Labyrinthine) and Conductive symptoms exist. Find out more about Combined Hearing Loss here.

Different Causes Of Hearing Loss

More information about the varying types of hearing loss.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Pertains to problems in the middle ear prevent hearing from developing in the inner ear. This isn’t necessarily permanent but it can be. An example of this is tinnitus.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

When the hairs in the cochlea are damaged or destroyed we develop sensorineural hearing loss. Caused by excessive noise or exposures.

Combined or Mixed Hearing Loss

Caused by a mixture of conductive hearing loss and Sensorineural hearing loss.

Hearing loss can affect children and adults through various stages of life. But certain influences and scenarios can cause hearing loss directly.

Hearing Loss in Children

Often hearing loss is caused at birth (congenial) as defects develop during pregnancy. For Sensorineural hearing loss in children common triggers are infections, like early meningitis or repeated ear infections. And hearing loss at young ages greatly affects speech development.

Hearing Loss in Adults

Often sensorineural and connected directly to ageing, the excessive noise comes into play. In Australia, this is becoming more prominent, which is why hearing loss while ageing is becoming a developing problem. It can also be caused by conditions such as otosclerosis , Neuritis and Usher Syndrome.

Hearing Loss Impact On Different Ears

Everyone experiences different symptoms when it comes to hearing loss.

People tend to assume hearing loss occurs in both ears, but that’s not the case. Usually, one ear is considered the “worse” ear while the other, which can hear better, is thus named the “better” ear. This is asymmetrical hearing loss.

This brings up two specific problems: difficulty differentiating where sound is coming from, and problems with picking up specific sounds in the background. For example, you may be able to hear a bus coming, but have difficulty hearing a conversation taking place in front of you while the bus is driving by. Thus hearing with your “worse” ear can cause problems while working, in classrooms, or just listening to music from home.

This can make it tricky to find proper hearing aids. Especially when the younger generation, while in favour of using hearing aids to help with hearing loss, are less likely to use them. They feel the colour and styles don’t ‘suit’ them.
As age increases, the general consensus to use hearing aids regardless of its appearance, rose. 15% of older Australians understand their hearing isn’t the best and supplement it with hearing aids. Overall, 57% of Australians stated they would wear a hearing aid if their hearing deteriorated, and 41% said “maybe.”

At Hearing Choices we explore all types of Ear related conditions including Vertigo and other conditions such as BPPV and Meniere's Disease.

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Hearing Aids Can Solve Hearing Loss

If you've been neglecting your hearing loss for a while, now is the time to get in touch with us! It has never been more affordable or convenient to correct your hearing problems. Let us help you with the right device and care. Get in touch with us today!