Do You Hear What I Hear?

Many people have the luxury of taking their five senses for granted without realizing that there are no lifelong guarantees the five senses will remain intact.

Hearing loss affects more than one million adults across Canada- a number that could actually be even larger considering a study done by Stats Canada showed that people quite often under-report their condition.

There are three different kinds of hearing loss that are categorized depending on which part of the auditory system is impaired. Conductive Hearing Loss involves a decrease in sound level and will produce a struggle to hear fainter sounds. This is because sound isn’t properly being conducted from the outer ear to the eardrum and the middle ear. Sensorineural Hearing Loss is the most common type of permanent haring loss and cannot usually be cured as it is caused by damage done to the inner ear or to the nerve pathways connecting the inner ear to the brain. Mixed Hearing Loss is when a combination of conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss occurs so the damage could be done to a variety of places in the outer or inner ear, eardrum, or nerve pathways.

There are many causes for hearing loss however most of them are uncontrollable. Cogential hearing loss happens at birth and can be a result of being born prematurely, low birth weight, genetics or because of birth injuries. Hearing loss that occurs after birth or acquired hearing loss is often a result of illness such as meningitis, severe ear infections or chicken pox. Noise exposure is perhaps one of the only controllable causes of hearing loss. Both the volume of noise and how long you are exposed to it can drastically impact noise-induced hearing loss. Generally if you have to raise your voice to be heard over noise or cannot hear someone three feet away from you, you are listening to something at a dangerous level.

Hearing loss affects one in three people over the age of 65. While hearing loss is often associated with people reaching an older age, many children are affected as well. The Hearing Foundation of Canada says that the first three years of a person’s life are critical in developing their long-term communication skills. This is one of the reasons why hearing health begins with screening for hearing loss at birth. One in five teenagers aged 12-19 are suffering from hearing loss at some kind of degree. Thirty-two million children around the world have some type of disabling hearing loss according to the World Health Organization.

A large portion of people who identify their hearing loss early can benefit from the appropriate types of intervention and management. One of the most common form of sensory loss, it is important to do the little things that make a big difference in your hearing health.