"When you lose your vision you lose contact with things but when you lose your hearing, you lose contact with people" - Helen Keller

Hearing loss is quite common. A hearing loss can be caused by many factors, but frequent exposure to noise and age are the two most common causes.
If you feel that your hearing is not as good as it used to be, don’t suffer in silence, get it tested.
Hearing loss can be gradual and is often hard to accept. We recognise this and have fine-tuned our services to cater for individuals coping with deteriorating or established loss of hearing.

Ear wax

Ear wax tends to build up in people's ears for lots of reasons. Over time it can gradually reduce your hearing and impact on the proper functioning of hearing devices such as hearing aids or in-ear monitors by gradually blocking the sound outlet, reducing their performance. We remove ear wax by gentle suction. This is quick and easy and the most comfortable and preferred method. Where we find that ear wax has hardened and become impacted, we have Cerumol Olive Oil ear drops available for purchase, which is the natural way to gently soften ear wax for ease of removal.

Hearing Loss - What does it mean?

Hearing is one of our five senses and enables us to communicate with others and hear the world around us. Hearing loss can occur at any age and time in our life. It occurs when there is a breakdown somewhere along the auditory pathway, making it challenging to hear sound, and more importantly, correct interpretation of conversation when interacting with other people. For many people hearing loss is a slow and gradual process over many years, and in the early stages most of us are not aware that they have hearing loss. The worst part about hearing loss is that it may not be obvious to you unless you notice a sudden change in your hearing. In many cases, individuals are unable to tell that they are suffering from hearing loss, while their friends and family can. For example, when in conversation with you, they may have to repeat themselves more than once. They comment that your television volume is always turned up significantly louder than they would prefer, while being in the room with you, or they say that you often don't hear the knock on the door or the doorbell ringing. Hearing loss, if untreated, can lead to anxiety, stress and depression, all impacting on your confidence, social life, personal relationships and personal well-being. Many people try to cope with their hearing loss for as long as they can. On average it takes up to seven years before individuals actively seek help.

Hearing Loss - early signs and symptoms

Common early signs and symptoms of hearing loss are: Asking people to repeat themselves Thinking that everyone is mumblingHaving difficulty hearing women and children clearly Difficulty with following a conversation if there are more than two people talking Attempt to read lips or watch faces intently when having a conversation with another person or when people talk to you Responding inappropriately when in conversations with others or answering their questions Difficulty hearing conversations clearly in a social situation, for example in a cafe or restaurant with ambient background noise present Difficulty hearing and following conversations in a group situation, for example in business meetings Having the television or radio turned up louder than others in the same room prefer Tinnitus - noises in your ears Early stages of occuring hearing loss can be tiring and exhausting because of the extra effort required to hear and follow conversation.It is not uncommon to feel: Tired and exhausted from straining to hear what others are saying to you Irritated at other people for "not making the effort to speak clearly" when talking to you Embarrassed when you meet new people because you did not really hear their name Increase in loss of confidence interacting with other people because you might get things wrong Increase in social isolation as a direct result from hearing loss It is easier and takes less effort to withdraw from social interaction than trying to hear when participating Hearing loss occurs in various degree, ranging from slight, mild, moderate, severe, to profound level. With every increased degree of hearing loss, conversation, sounds like birds chirping, doorbells ringing and music playing become more and more difficult to hear. If you think you are experiencing any of these symptoms then we recommend that you contact us to have your hearing tested.

Cause of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss drastically impacts on our social interaction with other people and over time can affect one's self esteem, confidence and well-being. The most common causes of hearing loss are advanced ageing and the frequent exposure to excessively high noise levels without the availability and use of proper hearing protection.Further causes of hearing loss can be through illness, damage to the middle ear or the inner ear, a build up of ear wax, ear infections, abnormal bone growth in the middle ear (otosclerosis), a ruptured ear drum, head injuries, tumors and medical treatments (ototoxic drugs). The gradual build up of earwax can block the ear canal and reduce the conduction of sound to the ear drum, or Tympanic Membrane. This can happen to people of all ages. This condition is easily restored by removing the ear wax with the help of suctioning. In some cases, where ear wax is impacted, ear drops are required to soften the ear wax to ease the removal.If you would like us to check your ear canals for build up of ear wax then contact us.

Type of Hearing Loss

There are three types of hearing loss, they are conductive, sensorineural and mixed. A mixed hearing loss is a combination of the first two types. A full diagnostic hearing test determines whether the hearing loss is conductive, sensorineural or mixed. Hearing loss is categorised based on the diagnosis of which part of the auditority pathway is damaged.
There is congenital hearing loss, which means it is present at birth, or it may develop later but is due to genetic causes. Autosomal recessive hearing loss is the most common type of genetic hearing loss, which means that neither parent has a hearing loss, but each parent carries a recessive gene that gets passed to the child.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss is caused by a problem with the transmission of sound from the outer ear to the inner ear and can be temporary or permanent. Sometimes conductive hearing loss can be treated medically or surgically. Possible causes are: Ear wax blockage Ear infection (otitis externa or otitis media) Build up of fluid in the middle ear (effusion) Perforated eardrum from injury Ruptured eardrum from infection Damage to the middle ear bones (ossicles) Otosclerosis - a condition where the ossicles become less and less mobile Poor Eustachian Tube function Presence of a foreign body in the ear canal.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common form of permanent hearing loss and is caused by damage to the hair cells in the inner ear (cochlea) and, or, to the auditory nerve pathway from the inner ear to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss cannot be medically improved, restored or surgically corrected and generally requires amplification to improve it.The two most common causes are: The Ageing Process Frequent exposure to excessive loud noise and soundOther possible causes of sensorineural hearing loss are: Acoustic Trauma Viral Infection Ototoxic medication - drugs that cause damage to the hair cells of the inner ear Meniere's disease Tumour (Acoustic Neuroma) Stroke Medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure Just as our bodies get older so do our ears and consequently our hearing starts to gradually diminish too. As we are ageing there is a gradual and natural deterioration of the hair cells within our inner ear. The function of the hearing nerve also diminishes resulting in loss of hearing clearly. For some people this process can occur sooner than expected but for most of us it is a gradual slow process. Frequent exposure to noise has become one of the leading causes of hearing loss. Excessive and unsafe levels of noise can cause irrepairable damage to the inner ear. When a person is exposed to very loud sound for a prolonged period of time or frequently exposed to reasonably loud sound for extended periods, sensorineural hearing loss can occur. Sensorineural hearing loss, either through ageing or through excessive noise exposure, remains irreversible and is permanent. This is because unlike other parts and areas of our body, which have the ability to heal themselves, the hair cells in the inner ear cannot regenerate themselves. This means that once your hearing is damaged it cannot be restored and requires amplification from suitable hearing aids to improve it. The risk of noise-induced hearing loss is preventable with the use of good and suitable hearing protection, and by limiting exposure to damaging noise levels. Prevention is always better, and generally cheaper, than "cure". The risk of damage due to loud noise or sound depends primarily on how loud noise or sound is, how long and how often one is exposed to it. The louder, the less time one should spend being exposed to it to minimise the risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Occupational Health and Safety Standards have taken these factors into account when putting together their guidelines for safe exposure times. Loudness is measured in decibels. Essentially, anyone exposed to sound of 85dB (A) or louder, for 8 hours or longer a day, and without wearing hearing protection, is at risk of irrepairable damage to their hearing. Employment Health and Safey regulations require for these situations the availability and use of suitable hearing protection. So, "Don't Lose the Music"!

Mixed Hearing Loss

Sometimes a conductive hearing loss happens in combination with a sensorineural hearing loss. In other words there is damage to the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve. When this occurs, the hearing loss is referred to as a mixed hearing loss

Recent technology advances mean that there is very likely to be a solution to your particular needs. Thomas is an expert with the latest technologies and will be able to help you get your hearing and your life back on track.

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