One in 6 of the population has a hearing loss, and this will increase to one in 5 over the next 20 years. Over half of people over the age of 60 have a hearing loss and this rises to over 90% of people over the age of 90.
It can be very difficult to admit if you are struggling to hear. There is still a lot of stigma associated with hearing loss, however the earlier you identify it and get help with your hearing loss, the more likely you are to find ways of living with it. Getting help with your hearing loss will reduce the risk of you becoming isolated from family and friends.
Causes of hearing loss
There are 2 types of hearing loss, each with many causes.
- Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the cochlea or auditory nerve. Damage can be caused by genetics, illnesses, injury, noise damage, ototoxic medication, and age. Presbycusis, or age related hearing loss, is the most common cause of hearing loss.
- Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a blockage in the ear caused by infection, illness or injury.
Find our more about hearing loss on NHS website.
Conditions associated with hearing loss
There are a number of conditions that are associated with hearing loss.
Meniere's Disease is a disorder within the vestibular, or balance, organ, which sits next to the cochlea in the ear. Find our more about Meniere's Disease and other balance disorders from the Meniere's Society.
Many people who have a hearing loss also have tinnitus. Tinnitus is when the person hears sounds in their ears or in their head that cannot be attributed to something outside.
Tinnitus affects about 1 in 10 of the population, with 1 in 10 of those affected becoming very distressed by the tinnitus.
You can find more informatoin about tinnitus from the British Tinnitus Association.
NESS supports the running of the Aberdeen Tinnitus Support Group.
Getting your hearing tested
If you are concerned about your hearing, ask your GP to refer you for a hearing test. The hearing test will take place at your local Audiology Department or at the Ear, Nose and Throat department (ENT). The Audiologist may recommend that you get a hearing aid. A hearing aid is designed to amplify sounds so that it is easier for you to hear speech. Modern day hearing aids come in many shapes and sizes, with built-in features that can adapt to different environments.
For more information about hearing aids go to NHS Choices Hearing Aids.
NHS’s Audiology department will supply hearing aids and provide after care for your hearing aids.