Answers to hearing loss FAQs
Posted on Apr 24, 2018
Here at HEARINGLife, we appreciate that hearing loss can be a tricky subject to wrap your head around, and that questions are bound to arise.
Therefore, we've rounded up a few of our most frequently asked questions to help answer any you may have.
1. What causes hearing loss?
The causes of hearing loss are extremely varied and differ from person to person. Here are some of the most common:
- Hereditary factors
- Smoking and high BMI levels
- The natural ageing process, commonly known as age-related hearing loss (ARHL). This condition affects 50-60 per cent of Australians aged over 601.
- Over exposure to loud noises, known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). This type of hearing loss is believed to make up 37 per cent of all hearing impairment cases in Australia2.
2. Can hearing loss be cured?
There is currently no cure for hearing loss, although research is still ongoing. Once the delicate and tiny cochlear hair cells within the inner ear become damaged, they are not able to regenerate.
These hair cells are responsible for collecting external noises to be passed onto the brain, where they are then transformed into recognisable sounds. If these cells are compromised, it can affect the ears ability to hear.
3. Are there ways to prevent hearing loss?
Although hearing loss is incurable, there are ways to reduce the risk and prevent damage to your hearing. These include:
- Wearing hearing protection: When attending loud events or exposed to high levels of noise, it's important to protect your hearing from damage. This can be as simple as wearing a pair of foam earplugs. These discreet devices can reduce noise levels by 15-30 decibels (dB) – great for reducing damage.
- Limit exposure to loud noises: Being exposed to noise levels above 85 decibels (dB) for more than eight hours can lead to permanent hearing loss. With leisure activities such as concerts and sports events reaching noise levels in excess of 130 decibels (dB), it's important to take regular breaks to reduce the strain on your ears.
- Turn down the music: Only listen to music at moderate volumes to avoid hearing damage. There are even apps such as Sound Meter that can let you know if it's too loud!
4. How do I know if I have hearing loss?
The early signs of hearing loss may be subtle, but they can have a huge impact on your life if left untreated. Here are some of the most common to look out for:
- Frequently asking others to repeat themselves
- Difficulty following conversations with two or more people
- Trouble hearing in noisy environments
- Missing essential sound cues such as alarms
- Increasing volumes to a high level
If you notice any signs of hearing loss, give the team at HEARINGLife a call on 1800 030 502 or click here to book a hearing assessment at no cost*.
1The National Foundation for the Deaf, Age-related hearing loss. Accessed December 2017
2Hearnet, The facts on hearing loss. Accessed December 2017