How Common is Hearing Loss?
Nearly 1 out of every 4 adult Canadians reports having some hearing loss (Canadian Hearing Society 2013). It is estimated that 46% of people aged 45 to 87 have hearing loss. (Cruickshanks et al. 1998) "Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic condition in older adults and the most widespread disability. "(Canadian Hearing Society 2013). 90% of people with hearing loss can improve communication with a properly fitted hearing aid, counselling or environmental changes. (Canadian Hearing Society 2013).
Some of the negative effects associated with an untreated hearing loss include serious emotional and social consequences, according to a major study released in 1999 by The National Council on the Aging (NCOA). The study was conducted by the Seniors Research Group, an alliance between NCOA and Market Strategies Inc. The research group surveyed of 2,300 hearing impaired adults in the 50+ category. The results clearly indicated that those individuals with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report anxiety and depression and were significantly less likely to participate in social activities, compared to those who wear hearing aids. The survey highlighted serious consequences affecting the seniors with untreated hearing loss, including greater feelings of sadness and hopelessness that lasted two or more weeks during the previous year. Specifically, among those with hearing loss, 30 % of non hearing aid users reported feelings of sadness, compared to 22 % of hearing aid users. 42 % of hearing aid users participate regularly in social activities compared to just 32 % of non-users. "This study debunks the myth that untreated hearing loss in older persons is a harmless condition," (James Firman, Ed.D., president and CEO of The National Council on the Aging.)
Do You Have a Hearing Loss?
TAKE THIS SIMPLE TEST
Do you have difficulty understanding what is being said, unless you are directly facing the speaker?
Do you find yourself complaining that people are mumbling or slurring their words?
Are you continually asking people to repeat words or phrases, though they feel they're speaking loud enough?
Do you prefer the TV or radio lounder than others do?
Do you have difficulty understanding conversations within a group of people?
Do you avoid group meetings, social occasions, public facilities, or family gatherings where listening may be difficult?
Do you have trouble hearing at the movies, house of worship, concert halls, or at other public gatherings - especially where sound sources are at a distance?
Do you have ringing in the ears or other head noises? (hissing, buzzing, crickets, etc... Tinnitus often accompanies hearing loss, but not always, and as such, may be the ears way of saying "ouch!"
If you checked at least two of these questions, you may have a hearing loss and need to have your hearing tested. Call 1-877-426-0079 to book an appointment.
How Do We Hear?
The hearing, or auditory system is well understood. When a noise occurs, it sends vibrations through the air much like ripples on a pond. These enter the ear canal or outer ear, and make their way to the ear drum. The human eardrum is a stretched membrane, like the surface of a drum. When the sound waves hit your eardrum a chain reaction is set off. Three of the smallest bones in your body, the hammer, anvil and stirrup help to amplify the sound and transmit it to the inner ear or cochlea. The inside of the cochlea is lined with thousands of hair-like nerve endings called cilia. When the sound vibrates the cochlea, the cilia move. This movement sets off another reaction which allows the message to reach the brain via the auditory nerve. The brain in turn interprets the sound and gives it meaning. Neurologists don't yet fully understand how we process raw sound once it enters the temporal lobes of the brain.
Just above the cochlea lies a closely related system called the vestibular system. This system is responsible for balance and the sensation of movement. These tiny loops or semi circular canals are filled with fluid that moves when you move your head. Like the cochlea, tiny cilia line the inside, and when your head moves, the fluid moves in turn stimulating the cilia. This stimulation sends a message to your brain telling you how your body is moving. Interestingly the fluid in the cochlea runs continuous with part of the fluid in the semi circular canals. In certain disorder such as Meniere’s disease, both the vestibular and auditory systems are affected and a person might experience hearing loss accompanied by balance problems.
MacRae 2010. Deafness cure breakthrough as scientists create tiny ear hairs from stem cells. Retrieved on August 3 2016.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1278160/Deafness-cure-breakthrough-scientists-create-tiny-ear-hairs-stem-cells.html#ixzz4GJNXfdgh
Types of Hearing Loss
There are two main types of hearing loss, Conductive and Sensorineural. Conductive hearing loss involves the outer and middle ear cavity. In most cases, hearing loss occurring in these areas can be medically or surgically corrected. A common cause of hearing loss in the middle ear cavity is an ear infection, which results from the build up of fluid which in turn blocks the normal transmission of sound waves. This type of hearing loss is most often successfully treated through medical or surgical intervention. Earwax, or cerumen in the outer ear can in some cases cause a hearing loss until the wax can be safely removed.
The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineual and occurs in the cochlea or along the auditory nerve. Hearing loss occurs when the cilia that line the inside of the cochlea are damaged or destroyed. Damage to the cilia is largely the result of aging, noise exposure, hereditary factors, certain medications, or other diseases. The main treatment option for this type of hearing loss is hearing aids or other assistive listening devices.
Are Hearing Aids Right For Me?
If you can identify with any of the signs or symptoms listed in Signs and Effects of Hearing Loss, then it is a good idea to have your hearing tested by a qualified professional. If you’re typical of the many people who ask this question, then it is more than likely that family members and friends have already been telling you that your hearing is becoming a problem. No one likes the prospect of wearing hearing aids. Adjusting to hearing aids requires effort, time, patience and practice and it can be a difficult adjustment for many. However, living with hearing loss and the experiences you’ve had (or did not have), and the toll it has taken on your quality of life and relationships with loved ones makes it an important first step to take. Importantly, hearing aid users report significant improvements in many areas of their lives, ranging from their relationships at home and improvements in their social life. In virtually every situation, the families of hearing-aid users also note the improvements and were even more likely than the users to report improvements.
Taking that first step toward improving your hearing may be difficult, but the rewards will be immense and life changing. Properly fit and programmed hearing aids are currently the only viable solution for the most common type of hearing loss. In order to properly determine whether hearing aids are right for you, a full hearing test should be performed. A licensed audiologist or hearing instrument specialist, are professionals trained to test hearing and to determine the need for hearing aids. This is the first step in achieving quality hearing.... for life!