What is Hearing Loss?
Quite often, people with hearing loss have described themselves as being “deaf” but having a hearing loss and being deaf are very different. Someone with a hearing loss has a diminished ability to hear sounds while being deaf means being unable to hear all sounds. Hearing loss often comes on gradually and is more likely to be perceived by loved ones who notice their loved ones struggling with conversations, the TV volume, and loud environments. Hearing loss is extremely common: in Canada, approximately 1 in 10 Canadians have some sort of hearing loss.
Causes of Hearing Loss
In our hearing clinic, we often see two common causes of hearing loss:
1) Age-related hearing loss (also known as presbycusis)
As people get older, age-related hearing loss can occur as the auditory system ages. This usually happens slowly and affects the higher frequencies first. This type of hearing loss is permanent and irreversible.
2) Noise-induced hearing loss
A short exposure to a loud sound or even continuous long-term exposure to moderate or loud sounds can cause hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is permanent and irreversible. Quite often, people who have been exposed to noisy machinery at work such as construction, or who work in the Armed Forces, can have noise-induced hearing loss.
Occasionally, our audiologists will also work with people who have hearing loss due to disease, inherited genes, repeated ear infections, trauma to the head or ears, tumours, auto-immune conditions, or chemically-induced or toxic damage to the ear. Other causes of hearing loss are also possible.
Helping People with Hearing Loss
The good news is that many people with hearing loss can be helped with hearing aids in combination with better listening strategies. Wearing hearing aids to help with your hearing loss is like wearing glasses to help with your vision, except glasses are usually more obvious! To find out more about the type of hearing loss you have, or to find out how to prevent it, please book an appointment with our audiologist.