What are the first signs of hearing loss?
- You often have to ask people to repeat what they say.
- People seem to be speaking unclearly.
- It’s hard to follow a conversation against background noise.
- Friends and family say you have the TV or radio on too loud.
- You have to sit in the front rows to hear properly in church, in large conference rooms or at the theatre.
How is hearing loss measured?
Sounds have different frequencies and different levels of intensity (volume). The unit of measurement for frequency is Hertz (Hz), and for volume, decibels (dB). The frequencies we can hear range from the very low (20 Hz) to the very high (20 000 Hz). Volume ranges from 0 dB (very quiet) to 120 dB (extremely loud). A hearing test (audiogram) measures the lowest volume we can hear at each frequency.
What should I do if I am worried about my child’s hearing?
If you notice your child isn’t hearing very well, try to get help as soon as possible, even if he or she has already had a hearing test. Consult an ear nose and throat specialist (ENT), who will assess the problem and find out the cause. He or she might also suggest treatment if required. You should have an audiogram done by an audiologist to ascertain the hearing thresholds of your child.
Our Hearing Aid Acousticians are here to guide you and refer you if need be to other professional resources such as our ENT and audiology partners. These are situated in the same building and on the same floor as our Clinic.
Signs of hearing loss in toddlers:
- Reacts strangely to noises.
- Is slow to pick up language skills.
- Speaks unclearly.
- Turns up the volume of the TV or CD player.
- Doesn’t follow instructions.
- Often says “What?” or “Huh?”
- Doesn’t answer when called.
Signs of hearing loss in babies:
- Doesn’t flinch, move or cry at unexpected noises.
- Is not wakened by loud noises.
- Doesn’t turn his or her head in the direction of your voice.
- Doesn’t spontaneously mimic sounds.
Are there risks for my teenager who listens to an MP3 player all day?
There are health risks involved in listening to iPods and MP3 players. They can seriously damage the ears, and listening to music on them at high volume for a long period can cause irreversible hearing loss. Scientists estimate that between 5% and 10% of people risk deafness if they listen at high volume and for more than one hour a day for at least 5 years. To reduce these risks, the device should not be used for more than one hour daily, and the volume should be below 60% of its maximum. Also, headphones should be used and not ear buds.
What causes hearing loss?
Many factors can cause hearing loss:
- Regular exposure to loud, repetitive noise
- Drug intoxication
- Build-up of ear wax
- Violent blow to the head
What are the first signs of hearing loss in office workers?
- Difficulty following conversations at a meeting or in a small group of people.
- You fear you won’t hear properly during a conference call using a hands-free phone.
- You fear difficulty hearing in large conference halls with no microphone or loudspeakers.
- You often have to ask colleagues, clients and family to repeat themselves.
- People seem not to be speaking clearly.
- When using a cellphone you don’t hear everything.
- You feel tired and have trouble concentrating.
- You avoid noisy restaurants where you won’t be able to hear colleagues, clients, friends or family.
- You avoid dimly-lit bars and restaurants where you won’t be able to lip-read.
How can I prevent work related hearing loss?
In the case of work-related hearing loss, it’s difficult to control the source of the noise. Usually, the individual has to take measures. He or she should use a hearing protection accessory if measures in the collective agreement to eliminate or reduce noise are insufficient or impossible to apply. If you think you might be at risk, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Our Hearing Aid Acousticians can recommend a range of equipment to protect you from noise damage.
- Ear-muffs, earplugs etc. made-to-measure at our clinic.
- Regular Hearing tests.
What causes Tinnitus?
In many cases, the problem is the result of illness or trauma such as:
- Hearing loss
- Heart disease or high blood pressure
- Ear or sinus infections
- Side-effects of drugs
- Blows to the head or neck
- Auditory trauma such as exposure to explosions or to extremely loud music
- Dirt or ear wax lodged in the ear canal
- Dental problems
- Some types of tumour
- Unknown cause
How can tinnitus be treated?
Tinnitus is more a symptom than a disease, so it is important to tackle its cause. However, current research indicates it may be possible in the future to treat tinnitus by stimulation of the vagus nerve.
Our audioprosthetists are trained in hearing disorders. They can suggest a variety of solutions for people suffering from tinnitus:
- Masking the tinnitus (white noise or Zen generator, plus hearing aid)
- Treatment of the illness causing the tinnitus
- Special medication
- Acoustic habituation therapy
- Cognitive behavioural therapy
Even if your tinnitus proves persistent, there are ways of helping you tolerate it. It depends on its intensity and how much it interferes with your life.
In around 25% of cases, the problem disappears of its own accord, without any treatment.
Is it possible to prevent tinnitus from worsening?
Sufferers can follow certain rules to avoid making the problem worse:
- If you also suffer from hearing loss, wear your hearing aid
- Avoid loud noises
- Listen to music at a reasonable volume
- Don’t take drugs that are potentially harmful to the ears, over a long period
- Avoid complete silence if you have hyperacusis (extreme sensitivity to sound)
- Don’t hesitate to get regular medical follow-up if the tinnnitus is a booming pulsation or occurs in one ear only.
If you think you have tinnitus, contact us now for an appointment with one of our Hearing Aid Acoustician, who will inform and guide you.