Hello, Can You Hear Me?
Sorry I didn’t hear you.
Could you repeat, please?
Does this sound familiar? Know someone who seems to be saying this often or perhaps yourself even?
Hearing loss affects individuals of all age including baby and young children. A person who is not able to hear as well as someone with normal hearing is said to have hearing loss. Hearing loss may be mild, moderate, severe, or profound. It can affect one ear or both ears and leads to difficulty in hearing conversational speech or loud sounds.
Causes of Hearing Loss and Deafness
There’s a whole list of reasons causing hearing loss and here are some of the common ones:
- low birth weight;
- severe jaundice in the neonatal period, which can damage the hearing nerve in a newborn infant;
- chronic ear infections;
- collection of fluid in the ear (otitis media);
- excessive noise, including occupational noise such as that from machinery and explosions;
- recreational exposure to loud sounds such as that from use of personal audio devices at high volumes and for prolonged periods of time and regular attendance at concerts, nightclubs, bars and sporting events;
- ageing, in particular, due to degeneration of sensory cells; and
- wax or foreign bodies blocking the ear canal.
Impact of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss varies according to the degree of severity and the impact can be detrimental. Spoken language development is often delayed in children with unaddressed hearing loss and can have a significant adverse effect on the academic performance of children.
Miscommunication can place a strain on relationships, not only for the person with the hearing impairment but also the people around them. If the hearing loss is gradual and has not yet been diagnosed, family members may mistakenly believe that the individual with the condition is becoming more distant. Exclusion from communication can have a significant impact on everyday life, causing feelings of loneliness, isolation, and frustration, particularly among older people with hearing loss.
Overall, it is suggested that half of all cases of hearing loss can be prevented through public health measures.
Household members, friends, and teachers may have noticed a problem before they acknowledged the disability. If you suspect that you or someone you know may be experiencing some form of hearing loss, opt for a hearing screening. As with other preventable diseases, early detection and treatment will help with minimizing the impact of hearing loss.
- World Health Organisation