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Do I have Hearing Loss?

Recognizing hearing loss is a difficult process usually consuming a considerable amount of time. Many people live in denial rather than face the problem and seek help. Having hearing impairment can be quite debilitating in obvious and sometimes subtle ways but thankfully, there are plenty of solutions available ranging from hearing aids, assistive listening devices, surgical intervention and medical treatment to sign language and lip reading. It is very important to take measures as soon as you suspect problems with your hearing and get the adequate help to improve it or least reduce greater onset.

Hearing loss symptoms

Hearing loss symptoms are easy to spot and are usually first noticed by family and friends. If you experience some of the symptoms listed below they may indicate some sort of hearing impairment and it is best to check with a specialist to be sure.

• having difficulty hearing over the phone
• increasing the volume of the radio and TV so much that the rest of the household members find it uncomfortable
• feeling that people mumble
• hearing muffled speech and often asking people to repeat what they have said
• having trouble locating the direction of sound
• straining to understand conversations in noisy environments
• experiencing pain or ringing in the ears

Types of hearing loss

The symptoms you have may indicate some type and degree of hearing impairment, which may be treatable or manageable. There are two main types of hearing loss – conductive and sensorineural. While both are manifested primarily by diminished hearing ability, they are different in causes and treatment. Conductive hearing loss is treatable in many cases with either medication or surgical intervention. The most widespread causes for it include fluid in the middle ear, various ear infections or malformations, cerumen build-up and others.

Sensorineural hearing loss affects the inner ear or the ear nerve and is not curable. However, it may be managed with the help of hearing aids or cochlear implants. The two common reasons for this type of hearing loss are aging and prolonged noise exposure. Other causes may also be a genetic or neurological condition, ototoxic drugs, mumps, meningitis, Ménière’s disease, head trauma, etc.

Hearing tests

To determine the presence, type and degree of hearing loss first you need to undergo a hearing test.
There are many online hearing tests that are free and quick and can show you indications of a hearing problem. If you suspect hearing loss, it is crucial to turn to your GP or audiologist to conduct a complete examination and prepare an audiogram of your hearing. This helps in recommending a suitable treatment or hearing aid.

Hearing loss assistance

There are many organisations that assist the hard of hearing community. For more information and professional advice, you can turn to the NHS, Action on Hearing Loss, British Deaf Association, Deaf Access, Text Relay.

UK hard of hearing help numbers:

NHS Direct hotline for medical concerns: 0845 4647

Action on Hearing Loss: 0808 808 0123

Deaf Access: 020 8315 2550

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