Hearing Loss

Why do we get hearing loss?

Age related hearing loss (presbycusis)

Age related loss occurs gradually for many of us as we get older and is one of the most common conditions affecting adults as we age. Inside the inner ear (cochlea) the hair cells become damaged and the nerves don’t receive the signals as well as they used to. Hearing usually deteriorates gradually as we age and is therefore not always recognised straight away. This type of loss is usually ‘wear and tear’ but there are several factors that can contribute such as genetics, noise exposure and general health. There is no cure but it is important to get your hearing tested and then discuss the use of hearing aids to help with quality of life and prevent any cognitive decline.

Hearing loss hearing related
Damaged hair cells in the cochlea

Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL)

NIHL is where the inner ear becomes damaged due to prolonged exposure to loud noise. This prolonged exposure damages the hair cells in the inner ear and they no longer receive the sound signals as well. Noise exposure can be experienced in heavy industry, motorsports, music etc. and it is important to protect your hearing with ear plugs.

Hearing loss due to medical conditions

There are many medical conditions and drugs that can cause problems with your hearing, some are permanent whilst others are temporary. Some of these medical conditions include:

Types of hearing loss?

Sensorineural (SNHL)

Sensorineural loss is where your inner ear (cochlea) becomes damaged. It is usually permanent and the treatment is hearing aids. Patients with severe and profound loss can be fitted with a cochlea implant but hearing aids are normally tried first.


Conductive loss is where there is a problem with the sound getting to your inner ear. It can be a blockage of the ear canal, damage to the ear drum or problems within the middle ear. This type of hearing loss is described as a mechanical problem and can often by intervened with surgery. However when surgery fails standard hearing aids or bone anchored hearing aids are fitted.


Mixed hearing loss is when both sensorineural and conductive loss is present.

Is my hearing deteriorating?

If you have a hearing loss you may experience the following:

  • You can hear that people are speaking but cant make out what is being said
  • People seem to mumble at you
  • One to one you’re fine but in groups you can’t keep up with the conversation
  • You have the TV too loud for others or need subtitles
  • You need to see peoples faces/mouths to hear them
 If you notice any of these things then you should check your hearing with a test.


TV volume
Credit: Speedbump.com