Introduction to hearing loss
Hearing loss affects people of all ages and backgrounds. We all know somebody affected by hearing loss, as nearly 1 in 5 Australians live with the condition. However, hearing difficulties are rarely as simple as the volume being turned down and that is why people with the condition will often remark:
“I hear ok, it is just that some people sound like they’re mumbling!”
Nerve receptors that pick up the higher frequencies in speech are more prone to wear and tear from noise and the ageing process. Subsequently, hearing loss tends to affect the higher pitched sounds within speech (eg “f ”, “s”, “th”, “ch” and “k”) more than lower pitch. As a result, people miss parts of words and sentences. In noisy environments, the brain finds it extremely hard to fill in the gaps, and people can become frustrated, tired and withdrawn.
Are you showing signs of hearing loss
Hearing loss progresses over time and it is best to recognise the signs early, which typically include:
- Difficulty following conversations in noisy environments
- Family members and friends commenting that the volume on television is turned up too high
- Mishearing what people have said and answering inappropriately
- Withdrawing from or avoiding social situations where hearing is difficult
We have also provided a self-assessment questionnaire here, so that you can objectively assess whether hearing loss is having an impact on your life.