Research suggests that one in six Australians has some form of hearing loss. Hearing loss doesn’t have to mean complete deafness. It could be a minor loss or decline in hearing ability or clarity in one ear or both. It can either be congenital or acquired later on in life. It can also be the result of minor medical conditions like a build-up of earwax or a temporary infection affecting your hearing. Hearing loss can also result from exposure to loud noises or injury.
These are just some of the causes of hearing loss:
- Ageing: As you get older, the inner ear structures can start to degrade and affect your hearing.
- Exposure to loud noise, such as machinery or loud music: Working around loud noises without adequate ear protection can increase the risk of hearing loss. Additionally, exposure to a single loud noise, like an explosion, can cause ear damage and hearing loss.
- Somes diseases that result in high fever, such as meningitis, may damage the cochlea.
- Certain chemicals and medications, known as ototoxic medications.
- Build-up of earwax. This can be easily treated by your doctor.
Side Effects of Hearing Loss
Besides the obvious affects to your hearing ability, there are some additional side effects that can result from hearing loss or decline.
- Communication Problems
Even minor hearing loss can lead to significant communication problems. You could find yourself struggling to hear in situations with moderate background noise. You may find yourself constantly asking people to speak up or repeat themselves. Because it can be difficult to clearly hear speech, some people with hearing problems can find it difficult to communicate with others. Communication can become stilted and awkward and even uncomfortable for those involved. This difficulty communicating can lead to a range of other issues.
- Workplace and Employment Problems
In some cases, certain levels of hearing loss or impairment may limit your employment opportunities. Certain roles will require clear hearing for practical or safety reasons.
Hearing problems, if not properly diagnosed and managed, can also affect your work performance. Struggling to hear colleagues, clients or customers can lead to mistakes, customer service issues and declines in productivity. This could potentially affect your ability to get your work done to a satisfactory standard or to advance your career.
- Relationship Problems
Hearing problems can also lead to issues with your personal relationships. If your partner thinks you’re not listening to them, this can lead to major relationship problems. Additionally, hearing problems can cause people to withdraw and stop communicating, which is another common cause of relationship issues.
- Limits your Social Life
It only takes a minor hearing problem for socialising in public to become quite difficult. Trying to listen and talk to someone in a busy cafe or bar can become extremely challenging and even frustrating and exhausting. Over time, people with hearing problems can start to withdraw socially because interacting in public or with groups of people just becomes too difficult.
- Mental Health Problems
Hearing problems can also result in some serious mental health problems. They can affect self-esteem, increase social anxiety and stress and lead to social withdrawal and isolation. These can all be significant contributors to anxiety and depression.
If hearing issues are causing problems with work or relationships, these issues can also contribute to mental health problems.
Get a Hearing Test
You don’t need to be deaf to experience any of the issues described above. Even minor and manageable hearing loss is enough to affect your communication or social interactions. If you’re finding it difficult and frustrating to communicate, then you should get a hearing test today. If you’re dealing with serious hearing problems, we recommend Signia hearing aids as one of the best on the market.