» Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss

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Hearing loss often occurs gradually as part of the aging process but can affect children and adults of all ages.

In Canada, 38% of adults aged 20-79 years have hearing loss (Statistics Canada 2021), and 6 in 1000 children are born with some degree of hearing loss or will develop early progressive hearing loss (Canadian Hard of Hearing Association).

Why is it important to treat hearing loss?

Untreated hearing loss has been linked to:

  • cognitive decline
  • increased risk of falling
  • depression
  • social isolation
  • listening fatigue
  • auditory deprivation
  • negative emotions such as anxiety, sadness, decreased confidence and self-esteem

Auditory deprivation occurs when the hearing nerve and the hearing part of the brain are deprived of sound. Over time the auditory pathway to the brain weakens and makes managing hearing loss through hearing aid use more difficult. If you don’t use it, you lose it!

Common causes of hearing loss:

Noise exposure
Aging (presbycusis)
Genetics
Head injury/Trauma
Cardiovascular disease
Diabetes
Hypertension
Infection

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Signs of Hearing Loss

Early detection and intervention can reduce the negative impact of hearing loss. Often the early signs of hearing loss go undetected because hearing loss occurs gradually over several years. Routine hearing assessments at all ages can prevent late detection of hearing loss and mitigate some of the risks of untreated hearing loss.

Common signs of hearing loss:

  • Difficulty understanding conversations in noise
  • Asking others to repeat things
  • Misunderstanding words or phrases
  • Greater difficulty understanding women’s and children’s voices
  • Complaining that others are mumbling
  • Turning the TV/radio volume up
  • Difficulty hearing on the phone
  • Avoiding social occasions in noisy environments
  • Avoiding being the first person to start a conversation OR monopolizing conversations
  • Listening fatigue
  • Feeling frustrated, impatient, irritable, and withdrawn

Types of Hearing Loss

Sudden Hearing Loss

A sudden decrease in hearing is never normal and must be investigated immediately. The cause is often unknown or deemed viral. Common symptoms include rapid onset usually in one ear but can affect both ears, tinnitus, vertigo/dizziness, and a feeling of fullness in the ear. If you experience these symptoms, please contact our clinic immediately.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss occurs due to hair cell damage in the inner ear known as the cochlea. Causes can include noise exposure, aging, medications, health conditions, and genetics. It is typically permanent and cannot be treated with surgery or medication. Hearing aids are often very beneficial for this type of loss.

Conductive Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss involves the outer and/or middle ear. Causes can include impacted wax, a perforated eardrum, fluid in the middle ear, infection, eustachian tube dysfunction, and malformations of the outer and middle ear structure.

Central Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss results from an issue with the brain's interpretation of sound, and may or may not involve a conductive or sensorineural component. Causes may include chronic ear infections, premature birth, seizure disorder, head trauma, stroke, and meningitis. Hearing aids may be beneficial in some cases.

Hidden Hearing Loss

"Hidden" hearing loss is defined as hearing loss that's not detectable on standard hearing tests, which zero in on problems within the ear.

Mixed Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss has both a conductive and sensorineural component. It may be treatable with medication, surgery and/or hearing aids.

How Sound Travels from Our Ears to Our Brain

Understanding how sound travels to the brain is important for understanding the different types of hearing loss. Hearing involves a series of complex steps that change sound waves received by the external ear into electrical signals received by the brain.

HELPING YOU RECONNECT TO YOUR WORLD OF SOUND

Feel empowered with more choice and individualized care.

Our philosophy is quite simple: Treat people how they want to be treated. Being truly independent means we can offer appropriate follow-up care and a variety of hearing aid brands.