Just like with our eyesight, suffering from hearing loss is quite common among older people. Losing some or all our hearing is a natural part of the ageing process and you may gradually begin to notice signs that it’s happening to you.
Fortunately, there are some ways of reducing your risk of hearing loss and today’s post will outline some examples for you to follow. Before we share our tips, let’s take a look at some of the signs and symptoms of hearing loss.
Signs and Symptoms
According to the NHS, hearing loss can be temporary or permanent and can sometimes happen suddenly. Although it’s not always easy to tell whether you’re suffering from symptoms related to your hearing, there are some signs that you should be looking out for:
- Needing to turn the TV volume up to hear your programmes.
- Difficulty hearing other people clearly, perhaps misunderstanding what they are saying. This can be especially noticeable in loud places.
- Constantly asking people to repeat themselves when they’re trying to speak to you.
- Having to concentrate hard in order to hear what others are saying around you. This issue can often lead to stress and tiredness due to all the hard thinking.
On some occasions, it may be that you’re only losing your hearing in one ear. This is often caused by sound temporarily being unable to pass through your ear, due to issues such as earwax or an ear infection. The symptoms are quite similar; however these extra signs may appear:
- Difficulty working out where sound is coming from.
- Sounds seeming quieter than usual.
- Worse hearing when the sound is coming from one side.
If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible.
If you visit your doctor, he or she will ask about the symptoms you have been experiencing and look inside your ears using a small torch and a magnifying glass. As we’ve mentioned, hearing loss can be temporary and can get better on its own.
However, it may be that you require some medicine or a special procedure. For example, if your problems were caused by earwax, this can be sucked out or softened by using eardrops. However, as is the case with many older people, the problems will be permanent and will require further treatment in order to save as much hearing as possible.
Ways of treating/reducing the effect of hearing loss include:
- Hearing Aids – A small electronic device which is placed into your ear. This device will make sounds louder and clearer, without giving you your full hearing back. There are several different types of hearing aids, with some going around the top and back of your ear and others going into the opening of the ear. Hearing aids are available on the NHS for anyone who needs them.
- Hearing Implants – If a hearing aid doesn’t help, a special device can be fitted inside or to your skull during an operation. There are a few different types of hearing implants available, such as bone anchored hearing aids, cochlear implants and auditory brainstem implants.
- Sign Language / Lip Readings – If you develop severe hearing loss it can affect your ability to communicate with others. To combat this, it may be that you learn new methods of communication that can be used instead of spoken English.
Ways of Reducing the Risk of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss may happen naturally, but there are things that you can do in order to lower your risk. Let’s look at some examples.
Make use of Free Hearing Tests
Just like with your eye tests, NHS hearing tests are also free of charge. Having regular tests can ensure that professionals can detect any damage to your ears, sooner rather than later. During your appointment it’s likely that you take part in a few different tests, such as:
- Pure Tone Audiometry – You will listen to different sounds through headphones and press a button or raise your hand every time you hear something.
- Speech Perception Test – You will listen to speech, rather than sounds.
- Tympanometry – A device is placed into your ear which checks for any fluid behind the eardrum.
Wear Ear Protection
This is especially useful if you work in a noisy environment such as a building site or factory. Putting your ears under the strain of loud machinery can put a lot of pressure on your eardrum. We would suggest wearing ear defenders or earplugs whilst you’re at work.
Away from the workplace, you should also consider ear protection gear if you go to a music concert or a motorsport event such as Formula One. Music concerts are a leading cause on Tinnitus problems. It may sound obvious, but you should also avoid standing near the speakers!
Be Sensible with your TV and Music
Listening to loud music for long periods of time, especially through earphones, is not good for your ears. You should keep the sound at a sensible level and take breaks throughout the day (five minutes each hour according to the NHS). If other people around you can hear your music through your headphones, the volume is too loud.
The same goes for your TV. If you’re struggling to hear your TV, you should visit your doctor rather than cranking the volume up. It’s highly-likely that you’re causing extra damage to your ears by doing so.
Maintain Ear Hygiene
You need to make sure that you clean your ears carefully by using specialist products designed for such a purpose. Remember, earwax is a natural protector of your ear and unless there is excessive amounts which is causing problems, it should not be removed. Cotton buds can cause more problems for your ear canal or eardrum.
Personal Alarm Information
For more information about our life-saving personal alarm service, please get in touch with our friendly team on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Use the discount code BLOG2018 when you order one of our personal alarm on a Monthly or Annual Plan to receive £10 off.