Sensorineural hearing loss
The inner ear is where sound is turned into an electrical impulse that the brain can understand.
When the inner ear starts to deteriorate, the basilar hair membranes inside the inner ear don’t transfer sound quickly enough to our brain to follow what people are saying to us. The nerve of hearing has to perform at an optimum level for many years. It is like any part of our body that will deteriorate as we age. We reach our peak of hearing at 18 and from there we deteriorate. Some people deteriorate slowly; others quickly.
Genetics, noise exposure, aging, Meniere’s Disease and viruses are a deciding factor in how our hearing deteriorates. Sometimes our hearing just deteriorates without any reason or genetic factors involved.
What happens to you?
- Hearing through background noise gets more difficult. People are talking but you can’t understand what they are saying.
- The television has to go up louder because you can’t understand what they are saying.
- You say ‘pardon?’ often, as the message just isn’t getting through to the brain quickly enough.
- Young children and women are hard to understand as they are often in the range of hearing in which you have deteriorated, making it difficult to understand when they talk quickly or not directly to you.
- The speech, at places like the cinema, becomes unclear and you have difficulty understanding what they are saying.
How to manage hearing loss
- Ignoring it is not the right answer. Hearing loss will not go away. Our hearing needs to be protected. Our understanding of speech comes as soon as we are born and the longer we go without hearing the spoken word at the right level, the harder it is for our brain to remember what speech is.
- A hearing system will allow you to understand what is being said to you.
- Ensure that people talk directly to your face. Talking to the back of your head, or from another room, makes hearing difficult.
- In a noisy situation, don’t sit in the middle of the room as sound comes across you in a 360 degree pattern multiple times and affects your ability to hear. Place yourself in a social situation on a wall and the sound will absorb at the wall and give you a better chance of hearing.
- Ask people to slow down when they are speaking to you. When we don’t hear, we are not getting the message to the brain quickly enough.