Many of us may not realise we have a hearing problem until it is pointed out to us by our family, friends and colleagues. It might have been getting steadily worse over a period of years and has largely gone unnoticed until things that used to be quite simple such as hearing your favourite soaps or talking to the children seem to have become a bit of a challenge. A loss of hearing can severely lower your quality of life but there’s no need to suffer in silence, with a little help your hearing can be restored somewhat back to the same level as before. One in six people will have a loss of hearing to some degree and it can be a part of your life for a number of years either by a condition, an accident or old age but it doesn’t mean that life can’t go on as it did before, there just needs to be some slight adjustments.
The first signs of hearing loss will be that you can’t hear voices as well anymore, especially women and children whose voices tend to be higher meaning if your wife is telling you you never listen to her it may not actually be your fault. People might start telling you that you’re being too loud or you’re asking them to repeat themselves a lot meaning your social life might start to diminish as you shy away from social interactions. You might start to hear a ringing in your ears or favour one ear over the other if it’s a problem with just one. If you notice any of these signs you will need to see your doctor to get your ears tested and the sooner the better, they can help you find a treatment that will stop any further damage and help you with what has already been damaged.
If your hearing has been impaired but it is only temporary you should only need medication or in some cases surgery such as when you have had a knock to the head. If you have had an ear infection and it does not clear up by itself you may need antibiotics or it could be as simple removing a build up of ear wax which your doctor can do for you. Don’t use cotton buds as this can push the wax in further and cause you more damage than good. Around three quarters of hearing loss cases are due to old age and this tends to start from around the age of sixty. A hearing aid is the most common way of helping you with your hearing and although it won’t reverse your hearing loss, it will make everyday communication much easier for you.
Claire Bowden is a leading expert on hearing loss and writes on behalf of www.digitalhearingcare.org.uk