Regarding hearing loss, being careless is one of our most significant risks. Hearing loss is a major public health problem in the UK. What’s more, it is no longer something that only affects older adults – people of all ages have their hearing affected.
Hearing loss is a condition that is hard to spot because it happens slowly and can’t be fixed. It can also happen very quickly and can’t be fixed.
What can we do to avoid being one of the 6.7 million in the UK who need hearing aids but don’t have them? What causes hearing loss, and what is the one thing we can do to start dealing with it in the right way? We’ll answer these questions in this article.
How we hear
To understand how vital a hearing test is, it’s essential to know about some of the most critical parts of how we hear sounds.
Our outer ear picks up sound and sends it to our middle ear through the external auditory canal. Small bones called ossicles in the middle ear send sound waves to the cochlear in the inner ear. The cochlear is full of fluid, and tiny hairs called cilia that help sound waves move forward. They are then sent to the central organ of hearing, which is connected to the brain, where they are changed into what we hear as sound.
Many parts and systems have to work together for us to be able to hear sounds. This means that the audio information we get is ruined if there are any problems along the way. There are many different kinds of hearing loss, and many things can cause it. It includes genes, health problems, personal habits, noise pollution, and age.
What we know is that once hearing loss starts, it affects the connections between the ear and the brain that we have built over our lives. When we get distorted sound information, it damages our neural networks and pathways, which makes our hearing loss worse. Because of this, our mental abilities start to get worse.
We use well-established networks in our ears and brains to know, for example, that a loud car horn means danger. Once our hearing is damaged, the harmful effects keep getting worse. So, the most important thing we can do is get a full hearing test. It’s easy to ignore hearing loss until it’s too late, and the damage can’t be fixed.
Things to look out for
When someone close to them is having trouble hearing, friends and family are often the first to notice. Most of the time, the person with hearing loss inadvertently makes up for it by using some well-known techniques.
- The person asks others to repeat what they are saying more and more.
They are increasing the volume of the TV or audio system to a level that makes other people uncomfortable.
They need to be able to keep up with regular group conversations.
They avoid getting together with friends and family.
Hearing loss has probably already started if you or someone you care about has one or more of the above signs. We put ourselves at risk of hearing loss by not caring for our ears. But the good news is that we live in a time when science and medicine are making daily progress that helps us.
We have a lot of options to help us keep and protect our natural hearing. We have more access and mobility thanks to hearing aids, assistive listening devices, phone apps, and a wide range of listening systems in private and public spaces.
We would be happy to help you with your hearing health by giving you information and advice. Please book an appointment, bring a friend or family member, and know that your hearing assessment, our hearing professionals, and our knowledge will give you a lot to look forward to regarding your overall health and hearing.