‘People don’t even realise they’re losing their hearing’


Article first appeared in the irish Independent April 2012

 “I test peoples’ hearing and diagnose any problems that they may be experiencing.

“When I see someone, I first determine whether there are any medical factors contributing to a hearing problem, such as ear-wax blocking the ear canal – the ear wax must be removed by their GP. “People may also have an infection in their ear canal, and this too is something for which they must be referred to their doctor. “Some are visible, such as ear-wax blockages or infections. There can also be more serious problems such as a disease of the ear canal, of which there are many.

“Hearing Action Week, which took place last month, is an all-Island awareness campaign highlighting the issue of hearing loss.”

 “Very often people don’t notice hearing loss because it’s not painful. Generally it’s the people around the person who notice that the person has the TV on very loud, or that the person is missing out on parts of a conversation or withdrawing in social settings.

“Today I saw a man who’d been suffering from hearing loss for more than 15 years.
“The man, who is in his sixties, was struggling to hear what people were saying both in the workplace and at home, and was also experiencing difficulty hearing the TV or the radio.
“He recently attended a meeting where he couldn’t hear the speaker.

“When he came in to see me, he explained that he had wanted to attend a theatre performance recently but had decided against it purely on the basis that his hearing was poor.
“His hearing had been diminishing so slowly that he barely noticed it was getting worse. “I took a case history and then tested him. I found that he had a severe hearing impairment in high frequencies.
“This meant he was unable to hear the beginnings and ends of words. He was unable to hear consonants unless someone was standing in front of him, because then he could get visual confirmation of what was being said.
However if someone turned their back on him, he was unable to understand what was being said.

“I gave this man a full audio-metric test which involved measuring his hearing threshold for different sounds. His threshold for low frequency sounds such as vowel sounds was very good but the threshold for high frequencies was very poor.
“The hearing loss had resulted from nerve damage which could not be medically repaired.

“I demonstrated a hearing system which was very specific to his requirements. It was programmed to rectify the problem – in the last five years there have been massive improvements in the quality of hearing aid systems.
“They are very discreet and more importantly, they replicate normal hearing very effectively. I fitted the technology and together we walked to Cork’s English Market.
This is a very busy place with high ceilings and very poor acoustics – a very challenging environment for someone with poor hearing.
“The client man was amazed at the difference in his hearing and said he had never realised how bad his hearing had become.
I also saw a *young girl of about 12. She had come in with her mother, following a warning from her school principal about her school performance.
This girl was already using a hearing aid system, but when I investigated, I discovered that it was somewhat out of date.
“It emerged emerge that the girl was not getting sufficient clarity from her hearing system and was falling behind in school.”

“I fitted her with a new device.  On subsequent visits, her mother indicated that her academic performance had improved significantly.”

“I find generally that clients are delighted by the efficiency of the technology and that 99.9% wish  they had done something earlier.”

For further information contact Hidden Hearing.

Have you got a noisy job?

We are looking at the top jobs that are bad for your hearing. First up was The Motorcycle Courier then Airport Staff now it’s the turn of Construction and Carpentry.

Construction & Carpentry

Whether outside your window, on your walk to work or anywhere else on the street, you may be painfully familiar with the extreme noise levels of construction sites. Now imagine working there. For the country’s construction workers, these sounds can be particularly hazardous to hearing health. Long periods of exposure to noise over 85dB is considered dangerous to one’s hearing, yet many of the most common construction tools make noise well above this cautionary value. Let’s consider one the noisiest yet most common construction tools: the hammer drill. This ear-shattering tool registers at nearly 115dB. With these dangerous decibels, whether you are performing construction work at home or for pay, make sure to wear the right kind of ear protection.
Carpenters are particularly affected due to a similarly noisy tool set, as the next graphs can attest.

Noise induced hearing loss is only one kind of loss there are many others. If you have or if you know anyone with hearing loss contact Hidden Hearing we can help and initial consultations and hearing screenings are free. Hidden Hearing.

My hearing is perfect……Can you speak up a bit !

More than half of factory workers who thought they had excellent or good hearing actually suffered hearing loss and didn’t even recognize the problem, a new study shows.

The University of Michigan School ofNursing study found significant differences between measured and perceived hearing loss, and suggests health care providers need better methods of testing and protecting hearing among factory workers.

“This finding shows that even workers who are served by a workplace hearing conservation program and receive annual hearing testing may be unaware of their actual hearing ability,” said Marjorie McCullagh, assistant professor in the U-M School of nursing and principal investigator. “Consequently, health care providers would be wise to examine methods to help workers develop more accurate perceptions of their hearing, and test more effective methods to protect it.”

Of 2,691 noise exposed automobile factory workers surveyed for the study, 76 percent reported excellent or good hearing. However, after formal hearing tests, researchers found that that 42 percent of those workers actually suffered hearing loss. This indicates that self-reported hearing loss is poorly related to the results of audiometry, or formal hearing testing. In other words, many factory workers might have hearing loss and not even realize there’s a problem, and the U-M findings are consistent with other studies demonstrating a discrepancy between measured and perceived hearing loss.

If you have any question about hearing or hearing loss contact Hidden Hearing.