About a Hearing Loss is dedicated to try and give people a better understanding as to how a hearing loss affects not just themselves as individual but also those around them.
A hearing loss can amazingly go undetected for as long as 20 years or more. The reasons for this are down to several factors. Firstly a hearing loss in most cases happens very gradually over a long period of time, without us realising. Whilst this is happening, our eyes will also help to naturally fill in the missing sounds caused by a hearing loss. Our brain will also provide extra information that will help us to “second guess” what is being said by analysing logic patterns of speech that are stored up in our brain over the years.
This is why it is perfectly normal for people with a hearing loss to initially deny or to even disbelieve the severity of their hearing problem, in many cases by accusing others of either mumbling or not speaking properly. And after all, we all only know what we actually hear but we don’t know what we cannot hear.
Research proves that it can take on average around 10 years before a hearing loss is acted upon. The best advice to try and help to speed up this unacceptable 10 year process, is to encourage people over the age of 50 to attend a Hearing Aids At Trade screening clinic where our representative will provide a free hearing screening.
Importantly, no pressure to act on any problem is enforced by us but instead only practical advice is given, along with an information pack that contains practical reasons for the attendee to act positively, “but importantly, in their own time“.
There are two types of hearing loss, conductive or sensory neural.
Conductive Hearing Loss
This is normally more dramatic in terms of perception, generally having the affect of a drop in volume and clarity, a little bit like having earplugs in your ears. Some of the types of a Conductive hearing loss include a perforation to the ear drum, Otosclerosis (calcification of the middle ear bones), many forms of Ottitis Media (infections of the middle ear) or even be caused from excessive wax. If you have never had a hearing test before and the results show that a Conductive loss is present, the Hearing Aid Audiologist would refer you to your GP on medical grounds, as there may be other options available to you other than wearing hearing aids.
Sensory Neural Loss
This kind of hearing loss has many causes, such as hereditary, use of certain types of medication, viral, trauma, blood or heart problems, noise induced or in a vast number of cases the aging process (Presbyacusis). People with a Sensory Neural loss can sometimes have a normal perception of volume but a poor perception of clarity. For some, this will mean that conversation in a quiet environment is manageable, although things like the television usually have to be turned up louder than normal, but in a noisier environment, the individual will struggle due to the background noise drowning out the clarity of speech. This phenomenon is known as the upward spread of masking. This is where low pitched sounds more readily drown out the higher pitched sounds which are responsible for the clarity or the beginnings and endings of words. The best solution for a Sensory Neural loss is usually corrected by the use of a hearing system.
As a hearing loss develops, in the majority of cases it does so very slowly. In fact so slowly that it is not even noticed by the individual themselves. Using speech cues such as seeing the person’s face become second nature and initially coping with a hearing loss is quite easy. After time as the hearing loss progresses it becomes more apparent to those around them that all is not what it seems. The television creeps up in volume and listening in noise becomes really difficult, as the background noise takes over what is being said. Even having a conversation in a car can become impossible as the the listener cannot readily see the speakers face to help fill in the missing sounds of speech. It to some can appear as if people don’t speak as well as they used to.
If a hearing loss is left too long this makes it harder to adapt or rehabilitate to wearing hearing aids as the brain becomes so used to what it hears or not as the case may be. If you starve the brain of information it is a form of deprivation. If it is sound that the brain is starved of then it is called auditory deprivation. Imagine being locked in a dark room for 6 months and then being brought out into bright sunlight. The brain cannot take the full light straight away and in the same way amplified sounds through a pair of hearing aids may well need to be initially turned down so that the brain can gradually get used to hearing again. This process can take in some cases up to 6 months to acclimatise to.
That is one of the many reasons that acting sooner on a hearing loss will allow a greater chance of success.
For more information call us today free on 0800 0304 542