Understanding Hearing Loss

Understanding Hearing LossOur sense of hearing is a precious link to the world around us. It’s important to our ability to communicate our thoughts, needs and emotions with the people we share our lives with. It gives us pleasure, it gives us information and it connects us. If you have signs of hearing loss it’s best to act early to minimise its affects.

Prevalence

Hearing impairment is a condition affecting over three million Australians or one in every six people.

Hearing loss can occur at any age but is more prominent with age. As many as half the people over the age of 60 experience some form of hearing impairment and up to 3 in every 4 over 70 years.

What to look out for

Unless caused by a medical problem, hearing loss usually starts very gradually. It might not be noticed by the sufferer or those around them at first. This is because even with normal hearing you don’t hear perfectly in all situations. Once established though, hearing difficulties can quickly begin to affect many areas of your life including your self-confidence and your relationships.

4 Early signs of hearing loss

  • Having difficulty understanding what people say when there are other sounds in the background
  • Hearing words incorrectly and asking for repeats or volume to be raised
  • Difficulty hearing soft or distant speech or if the speaker has an accent
  • Not hearing sounds around you like phones ringing, doorbells and alarm signals

 

Degree of Hearing Loss

Damage to hearing might affect the overall level of sounds, or it can selectively affect understanding of speech due to changes in the ability to hear certain frequencies. Often it does both of these things. Speech begins to sound muffled and unclear.
The degree of hearing losses can be classified as shown below:

 

Mild
Can hear speech but its not loud or clear enough, soft sounds may be missed, volume on TV is up a little louder
Mild
Speech sounds quite unclear or soft and environmental sounds may be missed, volume is quite loud to very loud for TV
Mild
Cannot hear speech unless it is shouted, misses most environmental sounds, often cannot get volume loud enough to understand
Mild
Only hears loud vibrations mostly from low frequency sounds

Book an appointment online

If you think you may have a hearing loss our advice would be to get your hearing checked with a FREE* hearing check-up at your local HearingLife clinic

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1 Australian Network on Disability. Types of Disability [Online]

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