The last 12 months has really flagged up the importance of communication with family and friends when we have been forced to be apart. For those suffering with hearing loss, this has been a very lonely and isolating time. With this in mind, I wanted to put a little piece together to explain about how our hearing works, and why we should be looking after it.
Your hearing is a very important sense. It allows you to commun-icate with loved ones, appreciate your favourite sounds and process the world around you. Your ears and your brain work together to provide a soundscape of every environment you’re in, even when you’re asleep. Your ears collect the sound but it’s your brains job to interpret it. If our hearing changes then our ears aren’t collecting all the sound that our brain needs to work properly.
We don’t really consider our hearing health until something feels wrong but is this the right way to think about it?
Hearing loss is a major public health issue, it is the third most common physical condition after arthritis and heart disease and currently there are more than 10 million people in the UK with some form of hearing loss. However, because hearing deterioration can be gradual it takes the average Brit 10 years to recognise that they have a problem and finally do something about it. This time lapse can have some severe health and social consequences.
Gradual hearing loss can affect people of all ages and depending on the cause, it can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. There are many causes of hearing loss such as our genetics, aging, noise exposure, medications, illness, viruses (including COVID) and many more. The most common form of hearing loss is Presbiacusis and it relates to aging.
When hearing deteriorates, understanding speech becomes difficult. We lose clarity, voices become muffled and we can begin to muddle the beginning and ends of words. We might then start to make mistakes, get the wrong end of the stick or ask people to repeat themselves. It can become difficult to hear in restaurants, work, meetings, social situations, watching television. This can cause frustration, upset and reluctance to socialise in those ‘difficult’ environments.
If hearing loss is caught early on there is a lot we can do to eradicate these problems, the longer it’s ignored the more difficult this becomes. Treating a hearing loss will not only help us to hear better but it also helps with our balance, our ability to tell which direction sounds are coming from, our short-term memory processing and the icing on the cake: it helps to slow the hearing deterioration preventing cognitive changes. We get our eyes and teeth checked on a regular basis to flag up any underlying issues, we need to add hearing to that maintenance list.
Hearing aids should, put simply, help you to hear all you need, and comfortably. We understand that it is essential to give your brain as much sound information as possible in order to hear properly, research has demonstrated that the brain needs access to a full sound scene in order to focus and hear clearly. By helping the brain to process sound in the most natural way, we will better help reduce the health and life problems associated with untreated hearing loss.
We need to do a better job of looking after our hearing, and in turn keep our brains and balance healthy. It takes less than an hour to assess your hearing health, and the sooner a hearing loss is detected the better. If you would like to arrange a free hearing assessment, please call: Swansea 01792 204886, Cardiff 02920 250121.
Best wishes to everyone
Michelle Viney and the team at Viney Hearing Care
Technology trial of breakthrough hearing with Oticon MoreTM
We are looking for 20 volunteers to trial a new innovative invisible hearing device proven to mimic the way our brain naturally hears making listening easier for the brain. This will be a months monitored trial to assess the improvements in hearing and wellbeing of patients using MoreTM. Oticon More is the world’s first hearing aid to give the brain the full perspective. This is thanks to a break-through in hearing aid technology like nothing before – a highly intelligent Deep Neural Network, part of a fundamentally new approach to sound processing.
For all enquires please call: Swansea 01792 204886 Cardiff 02920 250121