Hearing loss

Hearing loss

Hearing loss affects more than one in six Australians [1] and when left untreated, it can have a negative impact on your quality of life. If you do notice signs of hearing loss in yourself, or a loved one, call Neurosensory today on our toll free number 1300 965 513.

What are the causes of hearing loss?

Hearing loss can occur when there is a problem with one or more parts of the ear. Among the leading causes of hearing loss are:
 

Adults

  • Excessive noise exposure.
  • Ageing process.Heredity.
  • Vascular and circulatory disorders.
  • Tumors and other space occupying lesions.
  • Shingles.


 


 

Children

Middle ear problems

The most prevalent cause of hearing loss in children is dysfunction of the Eustachian tube, which is the tube that connects the nose to the ear. Eustachian tube dysfunction can affect up to 30% of children during the winter period. This type of hearing loss can arise from a head cold, however, more serious problems such as fluid in the middle ear, or the more complex otitis media (otherwise known as ‘glue ear’) can develop, involving bacteria or a virus infecting the middle ear or eardrum.[1] Hearing loss resulting from a middle ear problem is a conductive hearing loss and if medically treated, is usually temporary in nature. 

Birth trauma/hereditary

Sometimes children can be born with a permanent hearing loss, which is called a sensorineural hearing loss. Other factors which may cause a sensorineural hearing loss are:

  • Craniofacial anomalies.
  • Family history of hearing loss.
  • Congenital infections.
Other
  • Bacterial meningitis.
  • Head trauma.
  • Ototoxic medications – medications which are toxic to the organs of hearing or balance or to the auditory nerve.
  • Childhood infectious diseases, such as mumps and measles.
What are the degrees of hearing loss?

The degree of hearing loss is defined in ranges of mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe, and profound. A hearing loss can be conductive, sensorineural or mixed, a combination of the two.

The only way to precisely determine the degree and type of hearing loss is by having a hearing health care professional do a thorough assessment of your hearing status.

Neurosensory has the latest audiological equipment to precisely determine the type and degree of your hearing health. You do not have to settle for anything less than the highest quality hearing diagnostics.

What are the impacts of hearing loss?

Adults

Social

Untreated hearing loss can cause people to isolate themselves, frequently choosing to avoid social situations. The fear of not being able to contribute to conversations or even laugh at jokes in a social setting, results in an unwillingness to participate in everyday activities.[2]

Emotional

“Hearing impairment decreases a person’s ability to communicate. Decreased communication with others can lead to a range of negative emotions such as depression, loneliness, anxiety, paranoia, exhaustion, insecurity, loss of group affiliation, loss of intimacy and anger.” [3]

 

Physical

The physical effects of hearing loss have for many years been underestimated. [1]

Adult hearing loss is linked to an elevated risk for numerous health conditions, which include [1]:

  • diabetes;
  • stroke;
  • elevated blood pressure;
  • heart attack, particularly those rating their hearing as poor;
  • psychiatric disorder, particularly those rating their hearing as poor;
  • affective mood disorders;
  • poorer social relations;
  • higher sickness impact profiles (physical and psycho-social);
  • reduced health related quality of life, particularly those with more severe hearing loss
Economic

There is also an economic impact of untreated hearing loss. It has been reported that people with hearing impairment are less likely to be employed, and when in the workforce are 25% less likely to be earning higher incomes. Hearing loss has also been attributed to people not progressing in their chosen field and in a number of instances having to retire prematurely. [2]

 


children

For young children who are born with a hearing impairment the social experiences can be confusing and isolating. Without early intervention and proper support in school, hearing loss can be a barrier to children learning to speak coherently and they may never develop language skills beyond basic primary school standards.[2]
 

References

[1] Access Economics, The Economic Impact and Cost of hearing Loss in Australia, Listen Hear!, 2006

[2] Community Affairs References Committee, Hear us: Inquiry into Hearing Health in Australia’, 2010, Senate Committee Report

[3] Dillon H (2001) Hearing Aids, Boomerang Press, Sydney,368