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We often don’t fully appreciate our ability to hear until it begins to degrade. This happens to many individuals in life as they age, develop various conditions, and otherwise. That being said, there are plenty of reasons to focus on your hearing health to prolong these issues as best as possible – and to make the most of your auditory capabilities now!

How Does Hearing Work?

The hearing process is quite technical and can be tricky to fully understand at first glance. Here’s a quick and easy breakdown of each major step of the process.

  • Sounds emitted by humans or the environment around us enter the outer ear.
  • These sounds pass through the ear canal and eardrum.
  • Bones inside the ear act as a way of amplifying sound waves with added vibrations.
  • Sound vibrations pass through the inner ear via various structures, membranes, and cells.
  • The auditory nerve, deep within the inner ear, turns the sound into a signal that is sent to the brain. This is how we understand what a sound is, such as a honking car horn or the voice of a specific individual.

Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss

Types and Degrees of Hearing Loss

There are three common types of hearing loss:

  • Conductive hearing loss, which is limited to the outer or middle parts of the ear.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss, involving the inner ear and/or its ability to turn soundwaves into neural signals.
  • Mixed hearing loss, meaning a combination of both.

When it comes to these types, there are four degrees of lossage that may occur. The more severe it becomes, the less you will be able to hear. These include the following levels along with the typical range in decibels:

  • Mild (26 to 40 DB)
  • Moderate (41 to 55 DB)
  • Moderately Severe (56 to 70 DB)
  • Severe (71 to 90 DB)

Symptoms of Hearing Loss

Depending on what type you have, you may notice various signs or experience symptoms tied to it. These can include any combination of the following:

  • Asking others to repeat themselves
  • Irritability or stress in social situations
  • Discomfort in group scenarios or discussions
  • Straining to hear music, TV, or movies
  • Responding to questions with unrelated answers without realizing it
  • Avoiding situations where hearing capability is necessary, such as restaurants or theatres
  • Seeing others move their lips but not being able to understand what is being said

How to Prevent Hearing Loss

There are several known causes of hearing loss that should be avoided. These include avoiding excessively loud environments that are extremely hard on your hearing, such as being in the front row at a heavy metal concert or working in construction without ear protection. Otherwise, you run the risk of rupturing your eardrums or developing conditions like tinnitus. You should also try to reduce earwax buildup and clean your ears regularly. Do so carefully to avoid damaging them! 

How Hearing Improves Quality of Everyday Life

Making Memories

Spending quality time with the children, enjoying an intimate and special moment with a much-loved spouse, or attending a concert of your favourite musician – these are just a few ways that hearing can foster the creation of special memories. Preserving the ability to hear, as best as possible, ensures that you will be able to make even more of them as the years go on. This can be especially important to seniors as they seek to enjoy moments with their grandchildren, reminisce with loved ones and friends, and otherwise.

Skills and Hobbies

For those who are gifted musicians, work in communications and use the phone a lot, or engineer audio for a career, you know that your hearing is a crucial tool. Many of us rely on our ears to succeed in various hobbies and work opportunities. Without it, many of these efforts end up requiring guesswork, added stress, or completely retraining in new processes if possible. 

Human Connection

Engaging in conversation, singing a tune, experiencing cultures when travelling, joking with friends, and other moments of human connection can become difficult with reduced hearing capability. A sense of belonging and being able to contribute without awkward barriers is what encourages us, generally, to interact with others and establish long-lasting relationships. 

Social Comfort and Participation

Not being able to hear as well – or at all – can lead to a phobia of social encounters. It may discourage individuals from not participating as much in group events, outings with others, or specific activities like going to the movies, as they don’t wish to burden or annoy others. At the same time, reduced hearing capabilities can be embarrassing for some and negatively affect their self-confidence. It isn’t out of the ordinary for even extroverted people who suffer from such conditions to gradually become more introverted over time.

Get a Hearing Test Today for Peace of Mind

The best thing you can do for your hearing is to visit an experienced audiologist and have them examine your hearing in each ear. Typically, this should be done every ten years or so if you believe your hearing is fine, but don’t wait if you believe something is wrong. 

We at Robillard Hearing Centres offer not only comprehensive and knowledgeable in-person hearing services and solutions, but also online hearing tests you can take at home. Otherwise, if you’d like to book an appointment with us to discuss your hearing concerns, explore hearing aid options or otherwise, fill out our booking form and we’ll gladly be in touch. We look forward to helping you look after your ears and the amazing things they can do!