Hearing Loss Information

Hearing loss is the third most common chronic health problem among elders. It affects 10 percent of all Canadians. The progression of the hearing loss is often slow, so you don’t notice that your hearing is decreasing. It is most often loved ones that notice the first signs of hearing loss and the people experiencing hearing loss are among the last to know.

Types of Hearing Loss

Signs of hearing loss can be sudden and easily noticed, or they can develop slowly over time and be difficult to notice. It is often family members that are the ones that first notice a person’s hearing loss. There are different types of hearing loss, but in general they will display the same signs and symptoms.

On average it takes 5 to 7 years from the first signs of hearing loss to when someone seeks help for hearing loss. People may find it difficult to accept that they have hearing loss even though it affects their quality of life. If you or a loved one notices any of the signs of hearing loss, consider seeking help from our hearing care professionals.

Here are the three main types of hearing loss.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the root cause lies in the inner ear, a sensory organ or the nerve that transmits sound information from the inner ear to the brain. This type of hearing loss can be caused by many factors such as heredity, age, continuous exposure to excessive noise, diabetes, and many other causes.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a problem transferring sound waves from the outer ear to the middle ear. This type of hearing loss can be caused by excessive earwax, an infection, a perforated eardrum, and many other causes.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss occurs when there is both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss present. This can happen if there is damage to the outer ear as well as the inner ear. Having mixed hearing loss might make your hearing worse than if you just had one type of hearing loss.

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Signs of Hearing Loss

The signs of hearing loss most often develop slowly over time and can be difficult to notice. It is important to notice the signs of hearing loss because it can be detected earlier, and treatments can be prescribed.

If you answer YES to one or more of these questions you might have hearing loss:

  1. Do you experience difficulty hearing conversations over the telephone?
  2. Do you experience difficulty following a conversation when two or more people are talking at the same time?
  3. Do you have to strain or feel fatigued trying to hear some conversations?
  4. Does your spouse or family often complain that you set the TV volume too high?
  5. Do you have to ask people to repeat themselves often?
  6. Does it seem like more people mumble or speak in an unclear manner?
  7. Do you experience difficulty hearing clearly in a noisy environment such as a restaurant?
  8. Do you commonly misunderstand the exact words that someone speaks to you?
  9. Do you experience difficulty understanding the speech of women and children?
  10. Have you ever had the following…?
    • Ear infections
    • Ear surgery
    • Discharge from your ears
    • Ringing in your ears
    • Head or brain injuries
    • Thyroid conditions
    • Sinus allergies
    • Chronic dizziness or balance issues
    • Diabetes
    • Ear disease, stroke, heart attacks
    • Kidney problems
    • Serious health conditions such as cancer, meningitis, etc.
    • High blood pressure

If you notice you are experiencing some of the signs of hearing loss, it is recommended that you visit our clinic for a hearing test.

What Causes Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is often associated with aging, but it is not the only cause. One of the most common causes of hearing loss can be prevented. Noise-induced hearing loss can be prevented by avoiding continuous exposure to loud noises or by wearing custom ear protection. Some causes of hearing loss can be:

  • Age-related hearing loss
  • Noise-induced hearing loss
  • Heredity
  • Diabetes
  • Infections and illness
  • Injury and trauma
  • Medication

Tinnitus

Tinnitus or ringing in the ears is often a sign of an underlying condition. The sound may be heard all the time or only when it is quiet, it may also come and go over time. Tinnitus tests can be done, though it should be understood that not all tinnitus can be eliminated or reduced. Learn more about tinnitus on our tinnitus guide.

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