According to the Institute of Public Health, one in every five Malaysians has hearing problem. This means a staggering figure of 5,400,000 Malaysians are experiencing hearing problem, with or without being aware of it. World Health Organization had estimated that around 10% of the worlds’ population suffer from a significant hearing loss. Of course, hearing loss tends to be more prevalent in older people. One in three people at the age of 60 have a significant loss (more than 35dbHL in one or both ears) and with this figure rising to one in two by the time people reach 80. So, fear not! You’re not alone! Although hearing loss is quite common but yet it is the least addressed disabilities.
This is the commonest cause of hearing loss and is part of the aging process – typically it results in a slow gradual deterioration in our ability to discriminate speech – especially in noise. It manifest itself as a lack of “clarity”.
- Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Sustained exposure to loud noise will result in damage to the hair cells in the inner ear – leading to difficulty in processing the sound particularly at higher frequencies resulting in poor speech discrimination.
- Diseases or Conditions
There are numerous conditions of the ear that affect the way that we hear, if you have vertigo, pain, troublesome tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or a sudden hearing loss you should see your doctor. Diabetes is one of the common conditions that increases the risk factor significantly
- Certain drugs or medication
There are certain medicines that are known to be ototoxic ie. damaging to our hearing.
- A simple wax blockage in the ear
- Congenital or hereditary causes
You have difficulty conversing in a noisy environment. Social situations become difficult.
- Need require frequent repetition of speech by others
- Answering or responding wrongly in conversation
- Conversation becomes difficult in noisy environment
- Can hear but can’t understand
- Increasing the volume of TV or radio
- Having to focus on people when they are talking
Yes!!! Hearing aids do help people with hearing loss. A hearing aid can’t restore normal hearing of course, but modern technology is truly amazing. Hearing aids are more comfortable to wear and easier to listen with than ever before. They are usually fitted to specifically match one’s hearing loss profile. A little bit like your own “prescription” for your ears. What everyone should understand is wearing a hearing aid is a process. It will take some time for the person to undergo the rehabilitation process to train the brain to re-learn the sounds that haven’t been heard for a long time.
Hearing loss is very often described in terms of percentage lost. This is an incorrect measurement to apply to hearing levels. It is unlikely that you have lost hearing equally in all the frequencies and because of the method of measurement that is used by audiometers. Instead hearing loss is described as mild, moderate, severe, or profound, depending upon the degree of loss. For example, one may say that he or she has a “moderate high frequency hearing loss” As opposed to – “you have lost X percent of your hearing”.
Tinnitus, which refers to sounds that are heard in the head or ears, may accompany sensorineural hearing loss. It may sound like ringing, buzzing, hissing, roaring, crickets, or a combination of several sounds.
Tinnitus is not a disease – it’s a symptom that presents with a hearing loss on most occasions. Modern hearing aids can help with tinnitus as many have inbuilt “tinnitus therapy”.
Hearing aids vary in price quite significantly just like other electronic products – the more features and capabilities of the hearing aid, the higher the price. There are many excellent hearing aids within the range with many to choose from, so we are easily able to match your budget as well as your other needs.
Humans are designed to hear using both ears. So, the answer is clearly a YES if you have a hearing loss in both ears. Two hearing aids provide more balanced and natural sound as well as providing much better speech discrimination in most cases. Monaural users generally find a small improvement in quiet places but in noisy places they cannot manage and will very often complain that the hearing aid is noisy – it isn’t but they can’t discriminate speech through the noise.
There are different options these days with hearing aids – some use disposable zinc air batteries which are very low cost. Others can use nickel cadmium rechargeable batteries that require daily charging. There is now also the option of longer lasting lithium batteries that use smart contactless charging – these are super convenient as there is no battery handling whatsoever – so they can be a good choice for older people.