What are some signs of hearing loss? When should I be concerned?
Loss of hearing is often gradual and more common than people think.
- you frequently complain that other people mumble or talk too fast/soft
- family complains you have the TV/radio too loud
- you have difficulty hearing the waiter/waitress at restaurants
- you can hear people speak, but have difficulty understanding what they said
- you think others mumble when they talk
- you isolate yourself from difficult listening situations
- you frequently ask people to repeat themselves
- you can hear people if they are facing you but have difficulty when they turn away or are in a different room
- limited or poor speech
- difficulty learning
- fails to respond to conversations or to answer when prompted
- does not startle or jump to sudden loud noises
- failure to turn their head or eyes toward a sound
- by 12months, imitating familiar sounds such as “mama” or “bye bye”
How common is hearing loss?
Over 3 million Canadians have some degree of hearing loss, with over half being under the age of 65. On average, people suffer with hearing loss for 7+ years before seeking help. Only 1 in 5 people who could benefit from hearing aids actually wear them.
Can earwax cause problems to my hearing?
Symptoms of earwax blockage may include decreased hearing, dizziness, ear pain, feeling of blockage, and or ringing in the ear. People who wear hearing aids and earplugs are also susceptible to earwax blockage. Earwax may block the hearing aid or cause an audible whistle.
What is an Audiologist?
An audiologist is a health-care professional specializing in identifying, diagnosing, treating and monitoring disorders of the auditory and vestibular system portions of the ear. Audiologists are trained to diagnose, manage and/or treat hearing, tinnitus, or balance problems. They dispense, manage, and rehabilitate hearing aids and assess candidacy for and map cochlear implants.
What is a hearing aid and how does it work?
A hearing aid is a small electronic device that you wear in or behind your ear. A hearing aid has 3 basic parts: a microphone, an amplifier and a speaker. The hearing aid receives sound through a microphone, which converts the sound waves to electrical signals and sends them to an amplifier. The amplifier increased the power of the signals and then sends them to the ear through the speaker. The electrical signals are converted to neural signals by the hair cells in the inner ear and sent to the brain via the auditory nerve.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the medical term for what is often described as a ringing, buzzing, humming or roaring noise in the ears, or somewhere in the head, in the absence of an external source. It affects 10’s of millions of people in Canada and the US alone. Tinnitus is not a disease but a symptom related to hearing loss, infection, wax build-up, trauma, noise exposure, medications and/or stress. While there is no known cure for tinnitus, it is often successfully managed by treating the underlying cause of the symptom. When hearing loss is a factor, properly fitted hearing devices often alleviate one’s perception of tinnitus.
Will a hearing aid help with my tinnitus?
Tinnitus can be a symptom of hearing loss. There is evidence to suggest hearing aids can mask tinnitus sounds to help improve communication and reduce stress and anxiety levels.
A hearing aid can help manage tinnitus by improving the communication with others, therefore reducing stress levels. Hearing aids can increase the information available to the brain by amplifying background sounds making the tinnitus seem less audible.
Can I purchase just 1 hearing aid?
Two hearing aids allows for balanced hearing and comfortable communication.
Do I need a referral to have my hearing tested?
No, you do not need a referral to have your hearing tested. You can simply call us and make an appointment.
I don’t want my friends to know I am hard of hearing. Will others notice I am wearing hearing instruments?
Hiding a hearing loss can be much harder to hide than a hearing instrument. There are hearing aids so small they can look and feel virtually invisible. Your audiologist can show you different options that best suit your lifestyle and hearing loss.
How Loud is “Too loud”?
Sounds are measured in decibels (dB). For example, leaves rustling in the forest register only 20dB, whispers register at 30 dB and normal conversation at 70db. A lawnmower can but up to 100 dB; a live band would be over 120 dB. If you have to shout when you’re standing four or five feet away from someone, the surrounding noise is loud enough to damage your hearing. Short exposure to a noise of 120 dB or above without hearing protection is highly dangerous and can result in permanent hearing loss.
You can permanently lose your hearing from exposure to loud noise. A brief exposure to a very intense sound, such as a gun shot near the ear, can also damage your hearing.
Noise is considered dangerous if you have to shout over background noise to be heard, it is painful to your ears, it makes your ears ring during and after exposure, or if you have decreased or “muffled” hearing for several hours after exposure.
Causes of Hearing Loss?
Injury (ruptured eardrum or trauma)
What to expect at a hearing test
At your appointment, our audiologist will ask questions about your background, medical history, employment and sound environments; check your ears for wax buildup; and perform a range of tests to assess your hearing capabilities using state-of the-art equipment. The tests results are recorded on an audiogram.
Following the hearing test, your audiologist will review the results with you. If you have a hearing loss, there’s no need for alarm. Your audiologist will help you explore all options and together you will develop the best approach to managing your hearing loss.