It’s time to listen and learn. Today on World Hearing Day we discuss hearing loss, how it happens, and what supports are available to you.
Types of loss
There are two main types and hearing loss can be caused by one or a combination of these factors. Some may also be born with the impairment.
- Conductive loss: sounds are blocked from the outer to the inner ear due to earwax, glue ear, built-up fluid, or a perforated ear drum.
- Sensorineural loss – sensitive hair cells inside the auditory nerve or cochlea are damaged through ageing or injury.
What sounds are too loud? You can test different sounds with this simulator.
What can I do about it?
Losing your hearing may be a normal part of ageing, but it’s not something you should ignore.
We develop hearing loss over time with exposure to excessive noise or injury. Common symptoms include not being able to hear others talk while in groups or needing to increase the volume more than usual when watching TV. However once lost it becomes permanent, so it’s important to notice the warning signs and seek help.
The NDIS offers hearing supports for people with a permanent hearing impairment. This includes access to hearing devices through the Government’s Hearing Services Program (HSP) and support for ongoing maintenance costs. This assistive technology will be either fully or partially subsidised.
There are also techniques and adjustments to communicate better with others, like using sign language.
Get checked early
As with other disabilities, there is a level of stigma associated with people with hearing impairments. This may prevent them from seeking help early or at all, and leave them excluded from participating in the community.
But with 466 million people worldwide living with hearing loss, there’s nothing to be afraid or ashamed of. You don’t have to live with a hearing impairment without support. And getting help earlier means you’re able to adapt better to rehabilitation techniques or hearing devices.
To get tested, try this online test or visit your local doctor.
Next week we share some simple ways you can support people with hearing impairments.