Condition: Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can happen slowly, quickly or all of a sudden. There are many causes for hearing loss, many of which can be easily and effectively treated.

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What is Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss is a very common problem, which can develop slowly, quickly and even suddenly. There are three main types of hearing loss; conductive, sensorineural and mixed. Conductive hearing loss involves the outer or middle ear, while sensorineural, involves the inner ear. Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.

Hearing loss can affect your ability to work, communicate and enjoy life, so it’s important to seek a diagnosis and treatment if you notice any changes or decline in your ability to hear.

What are the symptoms of hearing loss?

Sudden hearing loss is usually very noticeable and should be quickly assessed as it may require urgent treatment.

Gradual hearing loss can be difficult to detect straight away. Signs and symptoms that your ability to hear may be affected include:

  • Frequently needing to ask people to repeat themselves

  • Struggling to hear people speaking when in a noisy environment or talking on the phone

  • Thinking people are mumbling when they’re not

  • Being unable to hear certain high-pitched sounds, such as birdsong

  • Needing to turn up the volume on your television or devices

  • Having ringing in your ears (tinnitus)

  • Earache

  • Having a feeling of a blockage, pressure or fluid inside your ears

  • Trouble balancing

  • Feeling dizzy

What causes hearing loss?

Loss of hearing can be caused by many things. It is important to understand the cause of your hearing loss so that you can receive the most effective treatment and avoid any further hearing loss.

Common causes of conductive hearing loss include:

  • Ear wax build-up

  • Fluid in the ears from colds or allergies

  • Middle ear infections

  • Swimmers’ ear

  • Problems with the eustachian tube

  • A ruptured eardrum or perforated eardrum

  • Tumours in the ear

  • A foreign object in the ear

  • Congenital conditions that affect the development of the outer ear

Common causes of sensorineural hearing loss include:

  • Ageing

  • Certain illnesses, including heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes and diabetes

  • Inner ear damage caused by a medication

  • Certain genetic conditions

  • Trauma to the head

  • Long-term exposure to loud noises

  • Congenital infections

How is hearing loss diagnosed?

At OneWelbeck, our specialist ear, nose and throat (ENT) consultants, can make an accurate diagnosis of hearing loss, and identify the cause, by conducting a range of tests, including; an examination of the ear, hearing and balance tests, and CT and MRI imaging.

How can hearing loss be treated?

Your consultant will be able to recommend the most effective treatment for your hearing loss, based on its cause.

Treatments for short-term hearing loss include microsuction, ear drops, antibiotics, nasal sprays and oral or injected steroids.

In some long-term cases of hearing loss, operations such as grommets, tympanoplasty, or stapes surgery can be used to restore hearing. In cases where hearing loss is due to age or noise-related issues in the inner ear, a hearing aid is usually recommended. Occasionally, if hearing levels are very low, a cochlear implant may be recommended.

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Hearing Loss Specialists

All our private ENT specialists at OneWelbeck in London are leaders in their sub-specialties, providing the highest quality treatment to ensure you receive the best available care.