Hearing loss can sneak up on you. Most people who come for a hearing assessment to discover they have hearing loss have already lost a considerable portion of their hearing. This is because hearing loss is a very gradual process.
The inner ear or cochlear is shaped like a snail and inside there are thousands of tiny hair cells. Over time, these tiny hair cells become damaged. This is most commonly caused by ageing, and occurs very slowly. Generally speaking hearing loss will begin in the high frequency range first.
This spectrum includes thousands of environmental sounds such as birds singing, the car indicator and soft footsteps. When listening to speech, it often means the misinterpretation of consonants, such as ‘f’ ‘s’ ‘th’. So a word such as ‘fun’ you may hear as ‘sun’ or you may often be taking a guess or relying on context to determine what is being said.
More extensive hearing loss signs are more obvious, such as needing to turn the TV volume up above the level of others in the home, asking others to repeat themselves, and having difficulty hearing amongst background noise.
The good news is, it has now been extensively proven that the best time to start using a hearing aid is earlier rather than later. Those who are in the initial stages of hearing loss can benefit enormously from an improvement in clarity when listening to speech, and to access to the full high frequency spectrum in their environment.
Not only will they instantly hear conversations better, but as their hearing changes over time, it’s proven that the brain’s ability to adjust to a hearing aid is far greater than someone who waits until their hearing has dropped significantly.
Today’s hearing aids are a far cry from those even ten years ago. Brand new microchips, digital programming, and discreet sizing are all standard features in even entry level devices. In fact if you are fitted and recommended a hearing aid by a professional, and are yourself motivated to wear them, there’s a 95% chance you will be a successful wearer.