Healthy Hearing

28.11.2014

BUT! Biffy appears at major venues such as T in the Park with speakers the size of jumbo jets to carry their music to the many thousands of people at the festivals. However, the venue we attended on Saturday only holds 2,000 people and I swear they brought the jumbo jets with them which were situated very close to our heads!

After the gig our ears were ringing so loudly that we couldn’t hear. The only way we could converse was to look directly at each other and lip read! This isn’t unknown after a concert and usually goes by the next morning, but this carried on until late Monday.

I know men really do have a well-known medical condition called “Selective Hearing”, my Dad suffered from this when decorating or housework was mentioned, this is very common amongst males and quite often terminal, their wives end up killing them! But, my husband really couldn’t hear a thing. You can see if it’s real deafness, whisper “Do you want a glass of wine/ watch the football/ have something to eat” and a man will hear this from three miles away, I asked my husband this and no reaction: this was serious!!!

So, I decided to investigate this matter.

1 in 6 people in the UK have some level of hearing loss, this equates to 10 million people. Some people were born with hearing loss but most develops as we age.

There are two types of deafness;

Sensorineural  Hearing Loss- This is when the sensitive hairs in the inside part of the inner ear (the cochlea or auditory nerve) are damaged due to age or injury.

Conductive Hearing Loss- This is when there is a blockage due to earwax, glue ear, ear infection or perforated eardrums and sounds are unable to pass from the outer ear to the inner ear.

Some people have both; this is called Mixed Hearing Loss.

How do you know if you have a hearing problem?

It was pretty obvious that I had damaged my ears at the weekend but thankfully, my hearing is back but be aware of other signs;

What causes hearing loss?

Prolonged and repeated exposure to loud noise

It could be at work or recreational. This is the biggest cause of permanent damage. Employers are obliged to protect your hearing under the “Noise at Work” regulations. Construction workers or music venue employees should be given adequate hearing protection. For  more information go to the Sound Active website , If noise reaches 80 decibels (db) employers are legally bound to take action.

Look around you, joggers, commuters, gym users are all locked into their own worlds of MP3 land. Some have the music so loud that you can hear their taste of music when sitting near them, how generous of them! This can cause damage gradually and may not be noticed for years when it could be too late.  Prevent this by protecting your hearing by reducing the length of time you listen to loud sounds. More than five hours a week at over 80 db will cause permanent damage.

Age

Hearing can deteriorate as we get older due to the aging process; unfortunately there isn’t a “cure” for this type of deafness. Many people are in denial that their hearing isn’t as good as it used to be. It really is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. Many older people use this to their advantage, we’re back to selective hearing again! But when it leads to social isolation it can be a big problem and one that can be rectified.

Hearing aids are amazing these days, there are those that sit behind or in the ear or there are some that are implanted within the ear. In years past these devices were not at all discreet and probably not all that effective but today they can be so tiny the only person who knows they are wearing it is the person wearing it!

We have a customer who takes his hearing aid out when he does his exercise session, he says he doesn’t want to get it wet; it’s dry land training and he really doesn’t work that hard that sweat will pour into his ear but  he insists! I have to say that humour is the best for all awkward situations and when I mentioned that the class would be on as normal next week he said “What? You’re going to Cornwall?!”

More than 50% of people over the age of 60 have some degree of hearing loss but only 1 in 3 people who would actually benefit from a hearing aid have one.

Ear Wax

Sometimes it’ as simple as earwax blocking the ear canal. Don’t be tempted to stick a cotton wool bud into your ear; this could push the blockage further down the ear canal. Eardrops brought at the Pharmacists will help soften the wax, if this fails your GP or Nurse will be able to clear it for you.

Glue Ear

It is very come for young children aged 2 – 5 years to have Glue Ear. This is a build-up of sticky glue like fluid in the middle ear as a result of chronic infection. If this is left untreated it can cause permanent deafness. If Glue Ear is persistent the child may be offered an operation to fit Grommets to allow air to get into the middle ear space and to help the fluid drain away.

Perforated eardrums

This condition can be treated with a procedure called Myringoplasty which is a skin graft used to seal the hole

Tinnitus

This condition can be very distressing; noises can be heard in the ear or head which can be ringing, whistling, buzzing or humming, I think I had all of those after the concert! Luckily my ears recovered although they have still been damaged but for some it never stops. There is help out there for tinnitus, speak to your GP.

Action on Hearing Loss have an acronym to help protect your hearing;

M MP3 players; Turn them down!

U Use chill out zones in clubs to take a break from loud noise

Stand back from speakers

Invest in some noise cancelling headphones

Carry earplugs, they won’t block the noise out completely but will make it safer

Don’t spend your life in silence; you don’t have to. Speak to your GP, visit the Action on Hearing Loss website and take their hearing test to see if you have a problem.

Or if you are hard of hearing I SAID, DO THE HEARING TEST ON ACTION ON HEARING LOSS (shouty capitals, you must have heard that!!)

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