Poor Hearing

Poor Hearing

As you age, it’s common to find that your hearing in one or both ears has deteriorated compared to when you were younger, the medical term for this is Presbycusis. Although it’s mainly linked to ageing, there are other factors that contribute as well. This issue can be seen in 1 in 3 adults over the age of 65. This condition can develop within both men and women, but primarily in those who are older.

Causes and Risk Factors of Poor Hearing

When people have poor hearing, it is defined as one of these three types:

  • Conductive, which involves your outer or middle ear.
  • Sensorineural, which involves your inner ear.
  • Mixed, which is a combination of both.

The primary causes of poor hearing are as follows:

  • Damage to the inner ear- Ageing and exposure to frequent loud noises such as engines or noise from a concert can cause wear and tear to occur in the cochlea to the hairs and nerves. This inner section of the ear is what sends sound signals to our brain, and if the nerves become damaged or the hairs go missing, the electrical signals won’t be transmitted as effectively as they used to be, and so our hearing becomes poor.

Although low-pitched noises won’t be affected, higher-pitched sounds or tones will become harder to make out and will sound muffled.

  • Buildups of wax- If there’s a buildup of wax in your ear canal, it can prevent the conduction of soundwaves in your ear.
  • Ear infections- If your outer or middle ear becomes infected it can cause hearing loss.
  • Ruptured eardrums- If you’re exposed to a sudden change in pressure, a loud noise or your eardrum is poked with an object it can cause your eardrum to rupture and affect your hearing.

As well to these causes, certain risk factors can increase your risk of hearing loss such as:

  • Ageing
  • Exposure to loud sounds
  • Genetics and family history
  • Occupational/recreational noises such as being exposed to loud noises whilst working or taking part in a hobby.

Symptoms of Poor Hearing

The signs and symptoms of poor hearing can include:

  • Speech and high-pitched sounds may sound muffled.
  • Trouble understanding words in a conversation or environment with more than two people.
  • Difficulty understanding consonants.
  • Finding yourself asking others to repeat themselves.
  • Having to have your TV or phone volume up.
  • Avoidance of social settings.

Treatments for Poor Hearing

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above and suspect your hearing may be damaged, then there are multiple gender-neutral treatment options available to you.

You can go for a hearing test to have a diagnosis on what is causing your poor hearing, and depending on the cause you will be informed of any recommended actions which might need to be taken.

You can also have an audiology consultation to have any excessive ear wax syringed out if this is what’s causing your poor hearing.

Lastly, there are private ENT specialists who can assess any issues with your ears and hearing if there are other issues besides poor hearing.

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