Hearing Loss

Although many people take them for granted, our ears are constantly functioning through a series of intricate processes. First, sound waves enter the ear canal and cause the eardrum to vibrate. This vibration is transmitted through the middle ear through a series of tiny bones, before arriving at the fluid-filled cochlea. The movement of this fluid is converted by the auditory nerve and finally interpreted by our brains as sound.

What is age-related hearing loss?

Age-related hearing loss is a form of hearing loss that occurs gradually and is one of the most common causes of hearing loss amongst elderly people.

This form of hearing loss is also referred to as Presbycusis which is the most common type of Sensorineural Hearing Loss. Presbycusis occurs as a result of the degeneration of the sensitive hair cells lining the inner ear. This degeneration is due to the cumulative effects of repeated exposure to noisy environments over time.

Due to the process being so gradual, most people are not aware that they are suffering from partial hearing loss. But the reality is, that most people in their 40’s are experiencing some form of hearing loss, and their ability worsens as they age, resulting in the vast majority of people experiencing hearing loss by the age of 80.

Our friendly hearing care professionals will support you on your journey to better hearing. It all starts with a hearing test which takes only 20 minutes, and best of all the test is free.

How Does Hearing Loss Occur?

Our ears are extremely complex structures and are more easily damaged than people often think. Causes of hearing loss can range from loud noises, head trauma and certain diseases to genetic factors and the natural ageing process.

Our ears are comprised of intricate and complex systems of bones, hair and membranes which help us hear all the wonderful sounds around us. From a conversation with a friend to listening to your favourite song, our hearing is integral to enjoying everyday life. Our hearing system, made up of the outer, middle and inner ear, captures noise from the external environment and transmits the information to your brain for processing. Read more on how hearing works.

As we grow older and experience prolonged exposure to loud noises, our hearing may deteriorate. It is important to be able to recognise these changes in your hearing and seek help when needed. To ensure your hearing is in good working order, National Hearing Care recommends regular hearing checks with your local hearing care professional.

What Can I Do About Hearing Loss?

In general, your hearing outcomes will depend on the type of hearing loss you have. Types of hearing loss include sensorineural hearing loss (which results from damage to the cochlea or associated nerves), conductive hearing loss (which results from the faulty transmission of sound waves), and sudden hearing loss (which often remains unexplained).

If you think you might be suffering from hearing loss, it's important to seek advice. A National Hearing Care trained staff member can perform a free hearing test to assesss your level of hearing, and if necessary, make an appointment with the Audiologist or Audiometrist for a full hearing assessment to begin developing an appropriate solution for your hearing loss.

Types of Hearing Loss

Conductive Hearing Loss

When people experience only a drop in volume of their hearing, it may be because of a conductive hearing loss. This is due to a disruption to the transmission – or conductivity – of sound through the middle or outer ear. For children, this is often a temporary condition that may be corrected by medical treatment or surgery. For adults, further tests should be conducted to determine the best course of treatment.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

This is the most common type of hearing loss. Unfortunately it is permanent. Sensorineural hearing loss (otherwise known as nerve deafness) results in a weaker sound signal to the brain when the hair cells lining the cochlea are damaged. This can also reduce the clarity of sound and is often why people say they can only hear others mumbling. Early intervention may minimize the impact of nerve deafness.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Some people may be affected by both types of hearing loss, so it's best to have your hearing assessed by an expert, regularly.