How Does Hearing Loss Affect Your Life? - Attune
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How Does Hearing Loss Affect Your Life?

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It’s a common misconception that when people have hearing loss, they will immediately get hearing aids, and everything will get better. 

One in six Australians has some form of hearing loss. However, many people choose to ignore it because they’re scared of the stigma that surrounds hearing loss and hearing aids. 

Hearing loss affects every aspect of your life. So, in this article, we will discuss the different types of hearing loss, how hearing loss affects your life and what you can do to manage it. 

Types of Hearing Loss

There are three different types of hearing loss: 

Sensorineural hearing loss 

This is a permanent type of hearing loss that occurs when there is a problem with the inner ear or auditory nerve, which prevents or weakens the nerve signals sent to the brain. 

Sensorineural hearing loss can range from mild to severe. The causes include

  • Loud noise exposure
  • Genetic factors
  • Natural ageing process

Sensorineural hearing loss can be sudden or gradually happen over time. 

Conductive hearing loss 

This type of hearing loss occurs when damage to the outer or middle ear prevents sound vibrations from reaching the middle ear. Conductive hearing loss can be temporary or permanent. 

Causes of conductive hearing loss include

  • Ear infections
  • Swimmer’s ear
  • Earwax build-up
  • Benign tumours
  • A hole in the eardrum
  • Poor Eustachian tube function 

Mixed hearing loss 

This type of hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. 

Mixed hearing loss happens when damage occurs to the outer or middle ear’s ability to conduct sound waves and the inner ear or auditory nerve’s ability to process this sound data. 

Causes of mixed hearing loss include

  • Ageing
  • Loud noise exposure
  • Genetic factors
  • Occupational or recreational noise
  • Earwax
  • Ear infections
  • Some medications and illnesses 

Hearing Loss Affect Your Life

How Does Hearing Loss Affect Your Life? 

Understandably, hearing loss can have a significant impact on your life. Here are some of the common ways hearing loss can affect your life. 

Fewer education and job opportunities 

Hearing loss can affect your education over a lifetime. There is a higher risk of leaving school early and reduced access to higher education. 

Research has also found that adults with hearing loss have a greater probability of unemployment or underemployment. 

Social isolation

When you have hearing loss and can’t keep up with conversations in social situations, it can lead to embarrassment and anxiety. 

Therefore, people tend to avoid social environments, leading to social isolation, loneliness and depression, especially if the individual doesn’t wear hearing aids. 

Mental health 

Social isolation caused by hearing loss can lead to severe mental health issues. 

Lower quality of life and increased frequency of depression are often reported by individuals with hearing loss and feeling embarrassed, frustrated, and rejected. 

Strained relationships 

Hearing loss reduces communication ability, leading to miscommunication, frustration, and disagreements. 

This can eventually lead to strained relationships between family and friends. 

Manage Your Hearing Loss

How to Manage Your Hearing Loss? 

Hearing aids 

Hearing aids are the most common treatment for hearing loss. Although they don’t bring your hearing back, they do amplify the sounds you can hear. 

There is a range of different types of hearing aids. However, they all essentially work in the same way and have the same three main components.

  1. A microphone that collects sound from the surrounding environment
  2. An amplifier that boosts the level of the sound
  3. A speaker that transmits the enhanced signal to your ear

The different types of hearing aids include

  • Behind-The-Ear: This type of hearing aid is made up of two parts; one that sits behind the ear and one part in the canal. BTE hearing aids are suitable for those with mild to profound hearing loss. 
  • Receiver-In-Canal: This type of hearing aid is also made up of two parts. However, it uses a thin metal wire (receiver) with a dome or custom mould instead of a plastic tube. The hearing aid’s speaker is in the receiver, which sits in the ear rather than the body of the hearing aid. RIC hearing aids are suitable for those with mild to severe hearing loss. 
  • In-The-Ear: This type of hearing aid is made up of one part that sits in the ear. This custom hearing aid can either fill half of the ear bowl or the full ear bowl. ITE hearing aids are suitable for those with mild to severe hearing loss. 
  • In-The-Canal: This type of hearing aid is also custom-made with one part sitting in the ear canal. ITC hearing aids are suitable for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. 
  • Completely-In-Canal: This type of hearing aid is custom-made and sits deeper in the ear canal. CIC hearing aids are suitable for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. 
  • Invisible-In-Canal: This type of hearing aid is custom-made, sits very deep in the ear canal, and is invisible. IIC hearing aids are suitable for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. 

Cochlear implants 

Another form of hearing loss treatment are cochlear implants

A cochlear implant is a small device that helps people with moderate to profound hearing loss. Much like hearing aids, cochlear implants can’t restore normal hearing. However, they can restore some hearing capabilities. 

Cochlear implants work when an external speech processor captures sound from the surrounding environment and converts it into digital signals. The signals are then sent to an internal implant (surgically implanted in the middle ear). 

The signals are converted into electrical energy and sent to the cochlea, stimulating the hearing nerve while bypassing the damaged hair cells. The sound is then sent along the hearing nerve to the brain, where it’s then translated into recognisable sounds. 

What to do Next? 

If you have noticed a change in your hearing and have distanced yourself from social situations, are struggling with your mental health and find it hard to communicate with family or friends, it’s time to get your hearing checked.

At Attune, we offer comprehensive hearing tests where we can diagnose your hearing loss type and severity and provide ways to manage it. 

Don’t spend the rest of your life struggling to participate in conversations. Start your journey towards better hearing health today and book a hearing test. You can book an appointment online or contact us on 1300 736 702.

Enquire now