HEARING HEALTH

HOW HEARING WORKS?

Hearing is one of our most important senses because it is the main means by which we socialise with others. Our hearing permits us to hear the quiet rustle of leaves in the wind or experience music or the roaring of thunder.

THE EAR HAS FOUR MAIN PARTS THAT SOUND MUST TRAVEL THROUGH FOR US TO HEAR

  • The outer ear
  • The middle ear
  • The inner ear 
  • Retro-cochlear that includes the VIII th nerve and the brain
Ear Diagram
  • Pinna
  • Auditory Canal
  • Eardrum

The outer ear consists of pinna or auricle, the external auditory canal and the eardrum (tympanic membrane). The outer ear directs sound into the earcanal and carries it to the eardrum. When these sound vibrations reach the eardrum, the eardrum begins to vibrate.

 

 

 

THE MIDDLE EAR

  • Eardrum
  • Ossicles

The middle ear contains the three smallest bones in the body; the malleus, incus and stapes. These bones conduct sound through the air-filled middle ear and transfer the sound to the inner ear. These bones are known as the “ossicles” and are connected to form the “ossicular chain”. The last bone in the chain is pushed in and out of the oval window of the cochlea. The eustachian tube, which equalizes pressure between the ear and the environment, is also found in the middle ear.

  • Cochlea
  • Auditory Nerve

The inner ear, the end organ of hearing, contains both the cochlea and the vestibular system that work to keep the body balanced (your equilibrium). The snail-shaped cochlea contains what are called “hair cells” that are not really hairs, but microscopic cells that connect to approximately 24,000 nerve fibres which are essential for hearing. The rocking motion of the stapes in the oval window moves fluid within the cochlea causing a “shearing” action or movement of the hair cells. This shearing action causes the hair cells to send an electrical impulse to the auditory nerve.

RETRO-COCHLEAR AUDITORY PATHWAY

The auditory nerve carries the information to the brain, via the brainstem, for decoding. There are auditory centres in the brain which interpret the stimulus enabling the understanding of what is being heard. If these parts of the brain are badly damaged or are not stimulated for long period of time, a patient may not be able to hear speech even at high levels despite the fact that the auditory nerve has transmitted it to the brain.

 

 

 

 

HEARING LOSS

Hearing is one of our most important senses because it is the main means by which we socialise with others. Our hearing permits us to hear the quiet rustle of leaves in the wind or experience music or the roaring of thunder. Hearing empowers us it enables us to work, socialize, and communicate. It also helps us to stay connected to the outside world.

HEARING LOSS : AN INVISIBLE DISABILITY

Hearing loss is a significant disability in Canada. 1 in 5 Canadians experience some degree of hearing loss. Hearing loss is more common than diabetes, heart disease, and asthma. From missing sounds to missing out on all the fun, hearing loss impacts all aspects of life. Hearing Loss affects quality of life

 

Imagine dining in a restaurant. In the background, there are humming noises everywhere, people talking and laughing and dishes clattering. You are straining to follow what is happening at your table – and the effort of doing this is starting to make you feel more and more frustrated and tired. Finally, you start pretending you can hear the conversation. You nod, look interested and laugh with the rest even though you didn’t get the jokes. You start to feel left out. When you leave the restaurant, you are left with headache, disappointment, no interest in repeating the experience anytime soon.

DON’T BE THE LAST PERSON TO KNOW

Hearing loss can progress so slowly that the individual affected is often the last one to know. In fact, family and friends or colleagues are likely to notice the problem before you do. They might say that you are not hearing them as well, or that the television is turned up too loud. The real problem is often not the hearing loss itself – but that we do not recognize it and do something about it.

 

 

 

TYPES OF HEARING LOSS

Imagine dining in a restaurant. In the background, there are humming noises everywhere, people talking and laughing and dishes clattering. You are straining to follow what is happening at your table – and the effort of doing this is starting to make you feel more and more frustrated and tired. Finally, you start pretending you can hear the conversation. You nod, look interested and laugh with the rest even though you didn’t get the jokes. You start to feel left out. When you leave the restaurant, you are left with headache, disappointment, no interest in repeating the experience anytime soon.

SENSORINEURAL HEARING LOSS

This type of hearing loss is caused when the small hair cells in the cochlea are damaged, resulting in ‘nerve-based’ hearing loss. Some causes include aging, excessive noise exposure, some medications, and genetic conditions. It is generally permanent and cannot be treated with medication or surgery. However, hearing aids can prove beneficial.

 

 

 

This type of hearing loss has both a conductive and sensorineural component. Mixed hearing loss may be partially treated with medication or surgery. It can also be treated with hearing aids.

 

 

 

SUDDEN HEARING LOSS

A sudden change in hearing is never normal and must be immediately addressed. It can be caused by wax build-up closing off the ear canal, a viral infection or, worst-case scenario, a brain tumour. It will often affect just one ear and may include tinnitus, dizziness or a feeling of fullness in the ear. If you experience these symptoms, immediately call our audiologist, a medical doctor or go to the hospital emergency.

CAUSES OF HEARING LOSS

You can develop hearing loss from your family genetics, old age, head injuries, illnesses like ear infections, specific medications, and external factors, such as exposure to loud noises. At HearCare Audiology, we can offer advice and guidance on how you can prevent hearing loss.

  • Loud Noises
  • Aging 
  • Medications
  • Infection
  • Head Injury
  • Genetics 
  • Illness
  • Tumors
  • Loud Noises
  • Aging 
  • Medications
  • Infection
  • Head Injury
  • Genetics 
  • Illness
  • Tumors

SYMPTOMS OF HEARING LOSS

  • Feeling that people mumble a lot and do not speak clearly.
  • Hearing people talk but have difficulty understanding some of the words.
  • Frequently asking people to speak up or repeat themselves. Having difficulty understanding women and children’s voices.
  • Having difficulty hearing someone call from behind or from another room.
  • Finding it hard to hear in noisy environments, for example in a restaurant or in a car.
  • Needing to watch a speaker’s lips more closely to follow the conversation.
  • Having difficulty following a conversation when they’re in a group of people, in a meeting, at church, or during lectures.
  • Having a hard time understanding in a crowd.
  • Turning the TV or radio turned up to an uncomfortably high level for spouse, relatives, and friends.
  • Favouring one ear over the other Having problems hearing clearly on the telephone.
  • Experiencing difficulty hearing at the theatre or other entertainment venues.
  • Family, friends, or colleagues mention that they often have to repeat themselves.
  • Limiting social activities due to difficulty hearing and communicating.
  • Seeming to be withdrawn, isolated, depressed or irritable.
  • Feeling that people mumble a lot and do not speak clearly.
  • Hearing people talk but have difficulty understanding some of the words.
  • Frequently asking people to speak up or repeat themselves. Having difficulty understanding women and children’s voices.
  • Having difficulty hearing someone call from behind or from another room.
  • Finding it hard to hear in noisy environments, for example in a restaurant or in a car.
  • Needing to watch a speaker’s lips more closely to follow the conversation.
  • Having difficulty following a conversation when they’re in a group of people, in a meeting, at church, or during lectures.
  • Having a hard time understanding in a crowd.
  • Turning the TV or radio turned up to an uncomfortably high level for spouse, relatives, and friends.
  • Favouring one ear over the other Having problems hearing clearly on the telephone.
  • Experiencing difficulty hearing at the theatre or other entertainment venues.
  • Family, friends, or colleagues mention that they often have to repeat themselves.
  • Limiting social activities due to difficulty hearing and communicating.
  • Seeming to be withdrawn, isolated, depressed or irritable.

PROTECT YOUR HEARING

Prevention

YOU NEED TO FEEL COMFORTABLE

We believe that prevention is the best medicine. Taking proactive steps can reduce the risk of hearing loss. These steps can include avoiding loud noises and wearing hearing protection in noisy areas exceeding 85 dB, such as industrial workplaces, concerts or sporting events. Our audiologists can offer advice and guidance based on your lifestyle.

  • Avoid loud noises.
  • Wear ear plugs.
  • Get your hearing tested routinely.
  • Avoid sticking cotton swabs or objects deep in your ear.
Prevention
Treatment
Treatment

TREATMENT

We offer solutions and management advice for multiple hearing loss conditions and impairments based on your lifestyle and preferences. Hearing aids, assistive listening devices, custom ear plugs and hearing protection, and tinnitus management are some of the products and services we offer.

  • Hearing Aids.
  • Assistive Listening Devices.
  • Custom Lifestyle Ear Molds.
  • Custom Hearing Protection Molds.
  • Tinnitus Management.
  • Ear Wax Removal.