Combatting Hearing Loss: Signs and Symptoms to Watch Out for Early Detection
In a Health Care Industry Association (HCIA) report, hearing loss is said to be affecting one 1 out of 7 people in Australia. Consequently, almost 3 million Australian adults are affected by this condition. Studies also show that Australian males are more likely to suffer from hearing loss. This makes hearing loss an impactful health condition in the last decade, but not everyone understands the signs of hearing loss.
What is Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss is a condition in which one’s hearing ability is reduced. According to medical experts, a person who experiences a decrease in the normal 25-decibel hearing threshold is considered to have hearing loss.
Causes of Hearing Loss
The most common causes of hearing loss are noise pollution and old age. However, researchers have found other culprits that impair one’s ability to use his sense of hearing. These causes may either be congenital or acquired.
- Congenital Causes
Congenital causes of hearing loss are either hereditary or non-hereditary factors that exist at birth. They include health conditions or birth complications during pregnancy or delivery.
The most common ones are:
- Lack of oxygen during delivery (birth asphyxia);
- Pregnancy infections (like syphilis or rubella);
- Low birth weight; and
- Unsupervised use of certain medications during pregnancy
- Acquired Causes
On the other hand, acquired causes are those existing and may lead to hearing loss at any time within a person’s lifetime, such as:
- Infectious diseases like meningitis, measles, and mumps;
- Chronic ear infections, especially on children (e.g., chronic otitis media);
- Impacted wax or foreign body ear canal blockage;
- Head or ear injury;
- Noise pollution
- Use of certain medications for infections such as malaria, drug-resistant tuberculosis, and cancers; and
- Prolonged use of audio devices on high volumes, or being at concerts, rave parties, and similar events regularly
Signs and Symptoms Australians Should watch out for
Most cases of hearing loss are preventable. As a matter of fact, early identification is actually beneficial for people who may be suffering from such a condition.
Unless you are a doctor or health practitioner, it could be quite hard to know what to look for. But, it helps to note any of the following signs and symptoms:
- Dulled speech and other sounds;
- Difficulty understanding words and hearing consonants; and
- Ringing in your ears;
Also, it would greatly help to ask yourself, Do I:
- Have difficulty hearing what other people say, particularly in a crowded or noisy place?
- Keep on asking people to repeat themselves because I can’t quite hear them?
- Listen to music or watch TV with higher volume than other people would normally do?
- Struggle talking over the phone?
- Does it take a lot of effort on my part to listen to someone and maintain a conversation?
- Hear better in one of your ears?
Early detection of hearing loss correlates to better outcomes. So, when you or your loved ones experience any or all of these hearing loss signs and symptoms, you should go to your healthcare provider the soonest.
After all, prevention is always better than cure.