HEARING LOSS AND TINNITUS
My hearing seems to be getting worse as I get older. Is this usual?
In the over-65 age group one in four people have hearing loss, and this rises to one in two people at age 75. When we are over 85, 4 out of 5 people may have hearing difficulties. When we are young and have normal hearing, we just take our hearing for granted. When age-related hearing loss develops, it usually happens gradually over a period of years – research has shown the average time between when a hearing loss is first noticed and when a person seeks help is 7 years. Initially, we start to notice problems in situations where there are groups of people talking, or there is background noise. Often the person with hearing loss will feel that other people are mumbling and may comment that people don’t speak as clearly as they used to.
Exposure to very loud noise, such as rock music or construction work, can also cause symptoms identical to hearing loss due to aging. Tinnitus may also be a side-effect of hearing loss.
People with a family history of hearing loss (genetic causes) may benefit from hearing tests from time to time, as some genetic hearing losses are progressive, and therefore may get worse over time.
If you have had ear infections repeatedly as a child, it may be sensible to have your hearing checked if you also feel that you are having difficulty hearing people as an adult.
Other types of hearing loss may be accompanied by bouts of nauseating dizziness, or may be linked to activities such as diving.
If you suspect that a family member or friend is having hearing trouble hearing, suggesting a comprehensive hearing assessment by an NZiAud Audiologist is the first step to reconnecting them with family and friends and a better lifestyle.
Modern hearing aids can really help people with hearing loss, which often shows up as not being able to hear people clearly any more. Hearing aids are light and comfortable to wear, and discreet in appearance. They come in a wide range of colours and styles, and your NZiAud audiologist will help you to choose the best one for your particular needs and tastes.
What about other types of hearing loss?
The ear is a very complex organ and there can be many reasons you can develop a hearing loss apart from the effects of age and excessive noise exposure . Your NZiAud audiologist is trained to find out the type of hearing loss someone is likely to have, and knows when to refer you on for further investigation by an Ear Nose and Throat specialist.
We recommend that if you think you have a hearing problem, or trouble with your ears that is affecting your hearing in some way, your first step is to have a comprehensive hearing assessment with your NZiAud Audiologist. They will then take the time to discuss your results with you and answer any questions you may have, as well as outlining various options that may be available to you.
Visit an NZiAud clinic for honest, professional independent advice.