Updated: Mar 27, 2020
There are 11 million people with hearing loss in the UK, that’s one in six! Are you one of those who is suffering from hearing loss and maybe hasn’t realised it yet? Maybe you know but are reluctant to do anything about it?
Age and/or genetics are some of the main reasons for losing your hearing and there are some common types of hearing problems that you can fix. Keep reading!
1. Difficulty in understanding what people are saying in noisy environments
Why it happens: If you have been exposed to frequent loud noises you might have presbycusis, an age-related type of damage caused by the death of hair cells in the cochlea.
How to fix it: As you can't repair damaged cells, it's common sense that the best way to prevent further loss is limiting your exposure to loud noises. Any sound higher than 85 decibels puts you at risk.
WARNING: People with kidney or heart disease have a higher than average risk of developing age-related hearing loss.
If your hearing loss is starting to affect your everyday activities, talk to your doctor about a hearing aid.
2. Feeling of fullness/blockage in your ears
Why it happens: It could happen because of a build-up of earwax or an excess of mucus from an infection or an allergy block the small canal that connects the throat to the middle ear - called the eustachian tube.
How to fix it: Your health care provider can remove the earwax with a suction device, irrigation tool or suitable spay. For a eustachian tube dysfunction your doctor can prescribe decongestants and antihistamines to help reduce inflammation if the infection doesn’t clear up.
WARNING: Hearing loss accompanied by a feeling of fullness/blockage that's accompanied by significant pain could be otitis externa, or swimmer's ear, an infection of the ear canal. It is treated with antibiotic ear drops.
3. Sudden hearing loss in one or both ears
Why it happens: It could be caused because of:
A build-up of wax
A virus or ear infection
An ototoxic condition because of use of certain drugs
An acoustic neuroma
How to fix it: "If an audiogram shows nerve injury, hearing can be recovered if steroids are given within 72 hours of the onset of hearing loss". If the loss of hearing is due of certain drugs, it requires an immediate change in your medication if possible.
WARNING: Visit your doctor if you suffer sudden hearing loss. It could be sign of other medical problems and may require urgent attention.
4. Hearing loss is accompanied by vertigo, nausea or trouble with balance
Why it happens: It could be caused of the abnormal amount of fluid (endolypmph) in the inner ear, which means that you may have Ménière's disease.
How to fix it: A low-sodium diet and a prescribed diuretic can help reduce fluid in the inner ear. Also, doctors may recommend injecting a steroid into the middle ear to reduce inflammation, or inserting a tube into the ear to drain excess fluid.
WARNING: If you're experiencing dizziness accompanied by hearing loss, consult your primary care physician or an ear, nose and throat specialist urgently.
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