What You Should Do if You Think You’ve Got a Hearing Problem
24 Feb 2023
As we get older, we can find ourselves slowly succumbing to certain issues with our health. It’s important to note that while they can be minor niggles, they can turn into chronic health conditions. A very good example is hearing problems. People of any age can experience some form of hearing problem, and while you may think that you’re too young or you want to ignore the issue, here are a few things that you should do and think about.
Get a Hearing Test First
The best place to begin is to examine the level of your hearing. Audiologists like the Northern Hearing Health Centre provide comprehensive hearing tests so you can get a better understanding of what you can do going forward. If you have experienced hearing problems in recent years and it’s not to do with a deterioration in your hearing it could be as simple as wax build-up.
Are You Stressed?
If you live a stressful lifestyle or you find yourself predisposed to stress, these can exacerbate hearing problems. For example, tinnitus is anecdotally caused by some levels of stress. But there’s been evidence to show that for many people tinnitus can either follow or coincide with a period of stress, and sometimes stress can make tinnitus symptoms worse.
If you are feeling stressed and there are issues with your hearing whether it’s tinnitus or related ringing in the ears it’s important to get this checked out. There are a number of tinnitus masking methods that can help, such as tinnitus sound therapy, which involves using noise to cover up the ringing in the ears.
What’s Your Lifestyle Like?
There are a number of lifestyle factors that can contribute to the quality of your hearing. For example, sudden sensorineural hearing loss can occur suddenly, sometimes from infections or periods of illness, but there are more common lifestyle factors such as listening to loud music. There are also other lifestyle factors that can contribute to certain hearing loss. For example, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking can result in hearing loss. This is because blood flow is restricted to the inner ear and can cause hair cell damage in your cochlea.
Additionally, eating habits can result in health problems like diabetes and obesity. In fact, people with diabetes are more likely to develop hearing loss. While scientists do not know why, it’s suggested that the decreased blood flow to the inner ear can contribute to hair cell damage inside your ears and the auditory nerve.
It’s important to remember that blood flow is critical to so many components of our lives, not just our hearing. However, many people don’t necessarily think about blood flow to the ears in the same way as blood flow to parts of the body or the brain. If you are experiencing mental health concerns or chronic stress, you may have some form of hearing loss because your body will divert oxygen to the muscles rather than the brain.
Is It a Hearing Problem or Something Else?
Many people think about hearing problems purely as hearing loss but there are a number of other concerns associated with hearing health, such as being overly sensitive to sounds. Experiencing sound sensitivity conditions such as hyperacute hearing, phonophobia, or misophonia are all conditions that can occur in life. If you’re going through a period of stress, you could find yourself sensitive to sounds when you were completely fine with them before.
Additionally, you may have issues with concentration rather than hearing. A very good example in relation to hearing problems is what is known as “cocktail party syndrome.” Cocktail party syndrome, when you are struggling to focus on the person speaking in front of you because there’s a lot of noise around you is not necessarily a hearing problem but could be to do with your levels of focus. So if you are experiencing chronic stress and tiredness or anything that impacts your ability to focus, you could benefit from training your abilities to pay attention.
When we think we’ve got an issue with our hearing, it is important to make sure we get it checked out. Lots of people think that they don’t need to check it out because they are of a certain age or they are not approaching retirement. The fact is that hearing problems can occur at any stage of life. Teenagers can experience hearing problems because they are listening to music in earbuds, but also people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s can all be at risk of developing some form of hearing impairment. Whatever your concerns, it’s critical to get to the root of the issue.