The Main Cause Of Hearing Loss
In the 18th century, few people suffered from hearing loss but most people never lived passed the age of 50 anyway.
Remarkably, the coming of dentistry has increased our lifespan and with it the problems. Getting older but still feeling young is something we have to come to terms with.
And a gradual loss of hearing because of age (presbycusis) is one of the prices we have to pay for living longer.
Of the whole population one in ten people suffer from some form hearing loss. This figure is more than one in five for people over 50, the second most chronic disease after backache.
And when we reach 70 then seven out of ten people have poor hearing.
Amazingly only one in six people who need help with their hearing do something about it.
Wear and tear over the years on the inner ear brings a deterioration of the hair cells in the cochlea and means a loss of hearing sensitivity. An example is recruitment where a small increase in loudness actually sounds abnormally loud to the patient.
So when someone has said something to the patient who has not heard it and the speaker has spoken louder, it can sound like thunder.
Hence the phrase, “You don’t have to shout. I’m not deaf.”
The sensation of loudness is determined by the number of impulses carried by each auditory nerve fibre, so if the impulses are affected, the sounds can be too loud and then too quiet.
How It Affects You
The list is endless and if you only suffer from one of the symptoms do not fool yourself that you aren’t losing your hearing:
- The world starts becoming much quieter.
- You keep asking people to repeat what they say.
- You have difficulty in hearing high-pitched sounds.
- You may not have noticed that you don’t hear the birds sing anymore, you are losing high pitched sounds.
- Other sounds you are missing out on are children’s and female voices, the telephone ringing, in fact speaking on the telephone is painful.
- You ask people to repeat what they say.
- Consonants are high pitched and difficult to hear whereas vowels are low pitched so that you will have difficulty in understanding some words and therefore a conversation. Speech is not clear anymore.
- You may suffer none of these but have a problem, not in a one-to-one situation, but in a crowd where many people are talking.
- Background noise e.g. passing traffic, the television, children playing in the same room, can prevent you from having a conversation with someone because you can’t hear them properly.
- You have difficulty in hearing at a distance e.g. in a theatre.
- Sounds cannot be placed, you don’t know if they are coming from in front of you or from behind you.
- You don’t know if you are raising or lowering your voice.