Why Hearing Important ?

People naturally like to connect to one another and to the environment around. Hearing is an important medium which helps us in this process.

Every day, we are exposed to different sounds. It can be sounds of bird chirping, rustling ofleaves, traffic on the road, voices of loved one, favorite song, or attending a phone call. Whether one is at home, traveling, at school or at work, hearing becomes essentialin all situations.

Hearing empowers us and enriches our lives. Hearing enables us to socialize, work, and even relax. Hearing also helps to keep us safe by providing awareness in our environment or alerting us to someone else’s distress.

Good hearing become an essential part of life and allows us to be able to live and participate in life fully without limitations.

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What can a person lose with hearing?

Loss of hearing can take away our connectionsgradually.At its onset,we might not even realize that the sounds in the environment like chirping of the birdsand voices of loved ones start fading away. We only realize it once hearing loss becomes more significant and starts affecting the quality of our communication.

Moreover, problems with our hearing may lead to a feeling of isolation and even depression. As the active involvement in conversations becomes difficult at home with loved ones, in the office with colleagues, or with friends in social gatherings, the feeling of isolation increases.

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Daily situations which can be affected by hearing loss:

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At work

·         Participation in group meetings

·         Telephone conversations

·         Following a conversation in a busy office.

 

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At social occasions

·         Chatting with friends

·         Participating in conversations at a restaurant

·         Interacting with grandchildren

·         Watching TV with other family members

·         Participation in religious services

 

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For our own safety

·         When walking near busy roads

·         Awareness of sounds that alert us to danger like sirens and other traffic signals

·         Alertness when other people need help

 

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In school

·         Maintaining a high level of concentration with little effort.

·         Communication with instructors.

·         Registering information accurately.

 

Does my hearing loss affect my family and loved ones?

It has been truly said that hearing loss doesn’t just affect the person with it but the whole family as well. Hearing is important to connect; when it is affected, connections get affected too.

Family members get trouble in communicating due to breakdowns in the conversations.

Breakdowns can happen at many levels, a person with hearing problem might not be able to hear afamily member calling, or not actually answering what the family member have asked for. When this communication breakdownincreases, itcould bring more confusion and stress for family members. One example might be when a family member speaks loudlyat all times, it may lead to exhaustion on their part and just avoid talking to the person with hearing lossat all!

Family counselling and understanding of hearing loss is very important, at Hearing Partners we highly recommend to have family members included during the counseling session.

A person with hearing loss can get help with hearing devices, but the family need to be always understanding and co-operative, our specialists guide the families along with person with hearing issues. Outcomes are more positive with an active and constant family support.

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How we hear normally:

Hearing is a complex process of picking up sound and attaching meaning to it. The ability to hear is critical to understanding the world around us.

The ear can be divided into three parts leading up to the brain – the outer ear, middle ear and the inner ear.

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  • The outer earconsists of the ear canal and eardrum. Sound travels down the ear canal, striking the eardrum and causing it to move or vibrate.
  • The middle earis a space behind the eardrum that contains three small bones called ossicles. This chain of tiny bones is connected to the eardrum at one end and to an opening to the inner ear at the other end. Vibrations from the eardrum cause the ossicles to vibrate which, in turn, creates movement of the fluid in the inner ear.
  • Movement of the fluid in the inner ear, or cochlea,causes changes in tiny structures called hair cells. This movement of the hair cells sends electric signals from the inner ear up the auditory nerve (also known as the hearing nerve) to the brain

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  • The brain then interprets these electrical signals as sound.

What is hearing loss?

Hearing loss is a sudden or gradual decrease in how well one can hear. Depending on the cause, it can be mild to severe or profound. It can be temporary or permanent in nature.

It can be congenital which means person is born with it or it can be acquiredwhich means it happened gradually over time.

Hearing is a complex sense which involves the ear’s ability to detect sounds and the brain’s ability to interpret and give meaning to those sounds. Factors that determine how much the hearing loss will negatively affect a person’s quality of life include:

  • the degree of the hearing loss (how much hearing is gone)
  • the pattern of hearing loss across different frequencies (low or high pitch)
  • whether one or both ears is affected
  • the areas of the auditory system that are not working normally—such as the middle ear, inner ear, neural pathways, or brain
  • the ability to recognize speech sounds
  • the history of exposures to loud noise and drug-related toxins that are harmful to hearing
  • Age

 

The type and degree of hearing loss can vary, but in most cases, hearing troubles can be addressed.

Hearing loss is a common problem caused by noise, aging, disease, and heredity.

It is a fact that 1 in 6 people over the age of 50 have trouble hearing and require some help with amplification devices.

What are the signs and symptoms of hearing loss?

Socially:

  • Require frequent repetition, or asking people to speak loudly.
  • Have difficulty following conversations involving more than 2 people.
  • Think that other people sound muffled or mumbling.
  • Have difficulty hearing in noisy situations, like conferences, restaurants, malls, or crowded meeting rooms.
  • Have trouble hearing children and women.
  • Have your TV or radio turned up to a high volume.
  • Answer or respond inappropriately in conversations.
  • Have ringing in your ears.
  • Read lips or more intently watch people’s faces when they speak to you.
  • Avoidance of social situations because of difficulty following conversations in noisy environments.

Emotionally:

  • Feel stressed out from straining to hear what others are saying.
  • Feel annoyed at other people because you can’t hear or understand them.
  • Feel embarrassed to meet new people or from misunderstanding what others are saying.
  • Feel nervous about trying to hear and understand.
  • Withdraw from social situations that you once enjoyed because of difficulty hearing.
  • Tendency to bluff when not hearing someone because of the fear of asking them to repeat themselves.
  • Fatigue at the end of the day from straining to hear.

Medically:

  • Have a family history of hearing loss.
  • Take medications that can harm the hearing system (ototoxic drugs).
  • Have diabetes, heart, and circulation or thyroid problems.
  • Have been exposed to very loud sounds over a long period or single exposure to explosive noise.

Types and degree of hearing loss

Hearing loss can occur at anyage, for any number of reasons. In general there are three types of hearing loss:

  • Conductive
  • Sensorineural
  • Mixed (which is a combination of both)

 

Degree of hearing loss means severity of the loss. It can vary from Mild toprofound. After the hearing test,the degree, type and configuration of hearing loss can be established.

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When we have a mild hearing loss, our ability to understand speech diminishes. For those people who have a profound hearing loss, speech understanding is not possible.

Causes of hearing loss

The common causes of hearing loss are age and over exposure to loud noise. However, hearing loss can also occur after:

  • An incidence of infection
  • A head injury
  • Eardrum perforation
  • Some cancer treatments
  • Taking certain medications

Why treat hearing loss?

Our hearing is the key to actively participate in the world around us and untreated hearing loss can have a huge impact on our lives.

When hearing loss occurs, reactions to the situation vary. Living with an unaddressed hearing loss can often lead to social isolation and we feel tired just trying to live our everyday day lives in the same way we once did when we could hear.

Sometimes a loss of hearing can affect us both mentally and physically. If we isolate ourselves, it could lead us to missing out on our activities and our interactions with our friends and family, we may feel lonely and left out.

It is important to break this negative cycle and get your hearing assessed if you recognize this pattern.

The earlier you begin to address your hearing loss, the better the chance of being able to retain many of the recognized “sound pictures” that our brain learns and stores from birth that help us quickly “get the picture” of a situation.

What can person with hearing loss do?

We can take good care of our hearing, but sometimes, the decline may not be stopped easily.

However, we should always understand that when there are issues, there are solutions too. It’s more about accepting the issue and taking steps towards solutions.

We need to understand that being connected to the world and people around us is important to maintain a good quality of life. Hearing issues should not be ignored and steps towards getting connected should be taken.

The first main step would be consulting a specialist, making the appointment without any further delay.

What to expect during the appointment?

 

Three main steps to manage the problem are:

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1. Diagnose

During the visit at Hearing Partners, the hearing care professional will determine the degree of your hearing loss. If you have any medical issues and infections in the ear which can be treated by medical help, they will send you to see theENT doctor.

 

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2. Choose your solution

Once the nature of your hearing loss is established, the hearing care professional would explain the hearing graph to you and may present you with a number of hearing solutions to suit your lifestyle and hearing loss.

 

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3. Fitting and adjustment

Once hearing aids are fitted, the hearing care professional will adjust and fine tune them to suit your individual needs with regular follow ups and explain to you how to maintain the device.

Are hearing aids better now and can improve quality of life?

Current hearing solutions are sophisticated, discreet and easy to use.There are many modern hearing care options to manage the hearing problems. Hearing solutions are designed specifically with your needs in mind and are an important step to empower you to actively and confidently participate in all aspects of life.

A scientific review of a large number of surveys shows that the use of hearing aids causes significant improvement in the quality of life of hearing impaired people.
The review is published in the scientific report, “Evaluation of the Social and Economic Costs of Hearing Impairment”. The report presents the results of a comprehensive study of almost all scientific research on social and economic impacts of hearing loss in Europe, Australia and the United States.
Key points about the impact of the use of hearing aids on quality of life include:

  • Hearing aids improve overall quality of life for most users.
  • Hearing aid users enjoy better overall health than non-users.
  • Hearing aid users are perceived by their families to have better cognitive functioning than non-users and to be less introverted.
  • The most beneficial effects of hearing aids are found in the users’ social lives, taking part in group activities, and family relationships.
  • Hearing impaired people with hearing aids have greater self-confidence, stronger self-image and better communicative functioning, resulting in overall higher self-esteem, than those without aids.
  • Hearing aids help to reduce deterioration in psychological functioning as a result of hearing impairment.
  • Hearing aids can reverse social, emotional and communication dysfunctions caused by hearing impairment.
  • Hearing aid users are more likely than non-users to engage in activities involving other people.
  • Hearing aids improve most aspects of emotional life and hearing aid users have greater warmth and less negativity in personal relationships than non-users.

Source: “Evaluation of the Social and Economic Costs of Hearing Impairment, October 2006, Hear-it AISBL

 

Kids picture                                                                                        …. When kids grow

To develop speech and languageTo start speaking age appropriately