In the UK, around 9 million, or one in seven, people have hearing problems.
Rarely a quiet moment
Too often, we take our hearing for granted. We miss out on life when we can't hear the twitter of birds, the punchline of a joke, the television or the latest family discussion. Very often, it is somebody else who notices.
Noise Affects Us All
With traffic, road works, mobile phones, car alarms, the drone of television and relentless background music in shopping centres, restaurants and pubs, there is rarely a quiet moment. Some of this 'toxic' noise may be loud or prolonged enough to damage our hearing.
In the UK, around 9 million, or one in seven, people have hearing problems. Only a quarter of those who could benefit from hearing instruments wear them. What's more, it is estimated that it takes an average of 15 years for people who suspect that they have a hearing loss to decide to seek help finally.
- From Outer
- To Inner Ear
Outer EarBe aware of possible skin abnormalities and consult your GP if you notice anything unusual.
Bowl of the EarMostly skin problems which become more relevant when wearing ear moulds.
Wax GlandsAt the entrance to the ear canal. Always keep your ears clean, particularly for hearing aid wearers. We strongly recommend using cotton buds. Professional earwax removal is available through microsuction or constant flow warm water ear irrigation.
Ear CanalMost problems here are caused by wax or eczema, which can cause infections and should be referred to a GP.
Ear DrumThese can be scarred from previous infections affecting the hearing or have perforations or grommets. This is a GP or hospital referral and should be mentioned during consultation.
Middle EarAlthough rare in today's world because of suitable medication, a mastoid cavity could be part of your history and must be mentioned during consultation. Middle ear bones can be dislocated through a fall or a brutal hit to the head, giving an apparent total deafness even though the cochlear is unaffected.
The StapesThe stapes, the smallest bone in the body, can have hereditary or age-related issues that occur out of the blue. Teflon replacements are available under some circumstances via a GP referral.
Inner EarMost problems here are due to the wear and tear of the tiny hairs, which carry incoming sound to the nerves going to the brain.
CochleaThese tiny hairs can be damaged by sound, toxic drugs, childhood illnesses and fluid infections which can also relate to balance problems.
Auditory NerveDamage to the auditory nerve is unusual but can be either genetic or acquired.
Types of Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss results from diseases or disorders that limit sound transmission through the outer or middle ear.