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Hearing & Hearing Loss

What is hearing loss?

Causes of hearing loss

Hearing loss, also known as hearing impairment, is a reduction in how well you can hear. It can be sudden or gradual, temporary or permanent. It can mean hearing nothing at all or that you struggle to hear certain sounds.

Main causes of hearing loss are:

  • Age-related. As we get older, the tiny hair cells in our ears are affected by gradual wear and tear. This results in the progressive decline of our hearing (also known as “presbycusis”). By the age of 60, we are likely to experience sensorineural hearing loss – over 54% of Singapore adults over 60 experience this. 
  • Constant exposure to noise. Being exposed to everyday noises like loud music, power tools or machinery at work can damage the hair cells in the inner ear and subsequently affecting your hearing. Sudden loud noises like gunfire can also have a damaging affect. If you're exposed to noise on a regular basis you should take action to protect your hearing.
  • Others. For example, medications, illness or build-up of ear wax or an obstruction in your ear

So, what went wrong? 

Sensorinerual hearing loss
The more common type, which is caused by deterioration of the sensory hair cells in your inner ear. Different people experience different levels of hearing loss, depending on the type and extent of the damage to these cells. It is often a result of ageing, infections, genetics, head trauma or exposure to loud noise. Sensorineural hearing loss is almost always permanent. Whilst it cannot be cured, it can often be treated with the use of hearing aids.

Conductive hearing loss
This is where sound does not move properly through your eardrum, ear canal or the three bones of your inner ear. This can be caused by ear wax, a punctured eardrum, fluid in your ear, a genetic defect or an infection. Conductive hearing loss causes sounds to become quieter and can often be treated and cured with medication or minor surgery.

Symptoms of hearing loss

The symptoms of hearing loss differs amongst individuals. Here are some common symptoms to be aware of:

  • Finding it difficult to keep up with conversations in a group
  • Struggling to hear when in background noise (e.g. a noisy restaurant)
  • The need to constantly ask people to repeat themselves or ask them to speak louder
  • Feeling like people are mumbling or speaking too quietly
  • Able to hear sounds but it’s not clear
  • Having to increase the volume on the TV or radio
  • Tinnitus - a ringing or buzzing sensation in your ears
  • Getting tired more easily in group situations
  • Friends and family comment on your hearing
  • Difficulty hearing on the telephone, even in a quiet room 

Facts about hearing loss

  • 360 million people worldwide have a hearing loss (WHO, 2016)
  • In Singapore, 1 in 6 Singaporeans have hearing loss (MOH, 2010)
  • 90% of people with hearing loss could benefit from hearing aids
  • Most people wait an average of 5 to 7 years before seeking help and accepting that they have hearing loss

We recommend that you have your hearing tested annually. Book your appointment online or call us at +65 6338 9626 to schedule your

FREE HEARING TEST!

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