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August 8th, 2018

Hearing Loss

What is it and what are the signs

Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic condition in the world (CHS 2018). According to the Canadian Hearing Society, 1 in 4 Canadians report having a hearing loss and this number is likely higher as hearing loss is widely under-reported. The most common cause of hearing loss is general aging (CHS 2018). Often this change in hearing will happen gradually over many years that most people do not realize how much they are missing. We usually see other family members are be the ones to point out that their loved one is not hearing the way they used to.

How do we hear sound?

Check out this helpful video from Unitron for more information...

What are the signs of hearing loss?

Common causes of hearing loss

There are many reasons why a hearing loss may occur. There are three main types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive, and mixed.

Sensorineural hearing loss involves a permanent damage to the nerve or cochlea. This type of hearing loss often involves hearing aids to help restore some hearing. Common causes of sensorineural hearing loss include:
1. Noise exposure: patients who have worked in noise will often see a high pitch hearing loss due to noise exposure. Whether a patient has been exposed to recreational noise or occupational noise, they can generally manifest the same.
2. Aging: this is the most common cause of hearing loss. As the nerve is used repetitively over our lifespan, it begins to diminish over time resulting in a high pitch hearing loss.
3. Meniere�s disease: a hearing condition that is associated with dizziness and roaring tinnitus
4. Medication: certain types of medications can lead to increased hearing loss often seen by an extreme high pitch loss. Medications can also be linked to tinnitus.

Conductive hearing loss involves temporary hearing loss which can sometimes be repairable with or without medical intervention. Common causes of conductive hearing loss include:
1. Ear infections: also known as otitis media. When fluid fills the middle ear, this can cause sound to seem muffled resulting in a hearing loss.
2. Wax: the presence of wax in the ears can result in up to a 40% loss in hearing if the wax has completely blocked the ear canal. It is important to consult a licenced hearing professional regarding wax removal.
3. Scarring: also known as otoschlerosis. Scarring of the eardrum as a result of a history of ear infections or otitis media can cause it to become less mobile meaning sound cannot travel through as easily.
4. Damage to bones in ear: the bones in the middle ear are known as the ossicles. In the event these bones are damaged, sound transmission is more difficult. The most common cause of damage is head injury.
5. Hole in eardrum: a hole in the eardrum can often be caused be inserting foreign objects such as cue tips too far into the ear. Often this hole can heal on it's own but if the damage is significant, it can result in a loss in hearing.

Mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. While part of the hearing loss may be temporary and potentially repairable, part of the hearing loss will still be permanent. Treatment is usually a combination of medical intervention and hearing aids.

So you think you or a loved one have a hearing loss, what's next?

If you are experiencing any symptoms above, it is recommended you consult a hearing professional for a hearing test. At iDenture and Hearing, we provide free hearing tests for patients over age 55. Under this age, we provide testing as well at a small fee. This allows us to provide peace of mind to our patients and discuss any hearing concerns you may have. Head over to our Contact Us page to speak with our secretaries regarding booking a hearing test.