Hearing impairment, or deafness, is when your hearing is affected by a condition or injury.
Some people are born with hearing loss while others may develop it as they get older. Most commonly, hearing loss happens with age or is caused by loud noises.
One in six Australians is hearing impaired, deaf or has an ear disorder.
Damage can happen gradually
Exposure to noise is a known cause of one-third of the cases of hearing loss.
Damage to hearing from noise is cumulative, and is often a gradual process. The effects of noise exposure are permanent.
There are some early warning signs of hearing damage. For example, you may:
- hear but not understand
- find it hard to hear in noisy situations or groups of people
- think people mumble
- need to turn the TV up louder than others
- not always hear the doorbell or phone.
How loud is too loud?
Many daily activities won’t harm your hearing, but some can start to cause damage after only a short time.
The louder the sound, the less time you can safely listen to it. Just because a sound isn’t annoying doesn’t make it safe.
Find out from the noise simulator which noises are safe, which ones you may need ear protection for, and which ones are dangerous over a period of 30 minutes or more.
Tinnitus in a nutshell
Have you heard of tinnitus? It’s commonly described as a ringing in the ears, but it also can sound like roaring, clicking, hissing or buzzing.
Tinnitus is not a disease. It’s a symptom that something is wrong in the auditory system. This includes the ear, the auditory nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain, and the parts of the brain that process sound.
Most of the time, tinnitus isn’t a sign of a serious health problem, but if it’s loud or doesn’t go away, it can cause fatigue, depression, anxiety, and problems with memory and concentration.
Raising awareness for hearing
Hearing Awareness Week is Australia’s annual event to raise community awareness of hearing impairment and ways to protect your hearing.
This year, Hearing Awareness Week runs from 25 February to 3 March. It culminates in World Hearing Day on Saturday, 3 March.
Take the opportunity to give people with hearing loss a fair go. And remember to protect your hearing too!
How can you check if you have a hearing problem?
If you think that you or a loved one may have hearing problems, see your GP at PVH Medical. They will check your ear for any problems, such as earwax or a perforated eardrum.
Your GP may need to refer you to an audiologist (hearing specialist) or an ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon for further tests.
The sooner you see your GP, the better.
Source: Hearing Awareness Week
Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.