What is hearing loss?
Hearing loss is a term that describes a lower than normal level of hearing. It is sometimes described as a percentage of hearing loss. More often hearing loss will be described in terms of levels such as a mild, moderate, severe or profound levels of hearing loss, depending on how much difficulty a person has hearing normal sounds.
Who develops hearing loss?
Anyone can develop hearing loss at any age. Many people over the age of 50 will have some level of hearing loss. There can be a history of hearing loss in the family. You could experience a virus that has a lasting impact on your hearing or need to take medication related to other health concerns that can negatively affect your hearing.
Is hearing loss hereditary?
It can be, therefore, it is important that when you get your hearing tested you speak to the audiologist about any history of hearing loss in your family.
Does hearing loss ever get better? Can hearing return to normal levels?
Although sometimes people may develop a temporary hearing difficulty related to wax build-up, or fluid build-up, more often hearing loss tends to progress over time. Unfortunately, this means that the hearing levels tend to continue to deteriorate gradually for most people.
Do people with hearing loss eventually lose all of their hearing?
The vast majority of people who experience hearing loss, experience age-related hearing loss. Rarely will an individual who once had normal hearing levels develop a profound level of hearing loss across all of their hearing ability. More commonly, they will begin to develop increased difficulty understanding speech sounds in noisy environments and this will happen for each person to a lesser or greater degree as time goes on.
What can help somebody with hearing loss?
Understanding the primary cause of the hearing loss is very important in understanding how to move forward successfully living with hearing loss. Hearing aids are a fundamental part of this movement forward for most people. However, other assistive technologies, aural rehabilitation, lip-reading and communication techniques can all help. Outside of these interventions, patience, support and encouragement are hugely helpful.
Is hearing loss normal?
For many people, the development of hearing loss is a normal part of the wider ageing process. Still, it is important that people visit their GP, Audiologist and/or ENT for clarification as to what is causing the problem, in case it is possible to provide an intervention that will resolve the issue.
Can hearing loss be fixed or cured?
It depends on what seems to be the cause of the hearing loss in the first instance. A simple build-up of wax can lead to a temporary hearing loss, for example, and this can be relieved by having the wax removed. If the hearing loss is sensorineural, that means that it has come about due to nerve damage, and in this case it is likely that you will need to use hearing aids or other technology to achieve the most out of your hearing levels. Sensorineural hearing loss cannot be cured but only worked with.
I have just found out I have hearing loss. What should I do next?
If you are a medical card holder, you should see your GP who will refer you to the HSE Audiology Service. They will guide you through the process of having a hearing test, a hearing aid fitting and follow up care in your appointed centre. If you do not have a medical card, you should select a private hearing aid centre to attend. It is important that you learn as much as you can about your hearing at these sessions and understand your hearing needs.
Does Chime offer hearing tests?
Yes, we have a team of qualified and professional audiologists who can offer you a free hearing test at one of our Chime resource centres. Call our head office and they will connect you to your nearest Chime centre. Call 01 817 5700.