Understanding Hearing Loss

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Recognizing Hearing Loss

Take our quick quiz to find out if you might be experiencing hearing loss.


DO YOU ...

  • Feel like people are mumbling a lot?
  • Contribute little at meetings, restaurants or family gatherings?
  • Need to turn up the volume on the TV or radio?
  • Feel it is difficult for you to hold a conversation with background noise?
  • Miss key words in a conversation?
  • Have difficulty carrying on a conversation on the telephone?
  • Often ask people to repeat themselves?
  • Have a family member or friend mention you might have a problem with your hearing?

If you answered yes to any of these questions you could benefit from a hearing evaluation.

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Signs Of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is often gradual and therefore, its effects are not immediately obvious. It is not easy to recognize a change in one's own hearing. Most often, it will be a friend, family member or loved one who will notice subtle changes in your behaviour, such as:

  • Missing parts of conversations
  • Difficulty hearing in noisy environments
  • Complaining of muffled speech
  • Straining or difficulty understanding words
  • Asking to turn up the volume on TV or radio

In addition, you may notice communication difficulties, specifically with "understanding" certain words. This is common, because most often hearing loss will first affect your ability to hear higher pitched consonant sounds (S,F,SH,CH and TH)

These particular consonants are key in distinguishing words and understanding speech clearly. And depending on the severity of the hearing loss. words may still be heard but not understood properly, thus making it more challenging to participate in conversation.

Types and Causes of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be categorized by which portions of the auditory (hearing) system are affected. When the delicate hair cells of the inner ear are affected, it is referred to as sensorineural hearing loss. When the structures of the middle ear that are responsible for transmitting the sound to the inner ear are affected, it is referred to as conductive hearing loss. 

In some cases, people can experience both, which is called a mixed hearing loss. Hearing loss can affect any age, gender or ethnicity. Common causes of hearing loss include:

  • Advanced aging
  • Exposure to extremely loud or continuously loud noise
  • Certain medications
  • Genetics
  • Infections or virus
  • Birth defects
  • Head or ear trauma

Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss


Using hearing aids to bring back the gift of sound can improve one's sense of control and self-confidence.


Hearing is critical to meeting one's full potential at work. Studies show that risk of income loss can be reduced by using hearing aids.

Cognitive Skills

Studies show that seniors with hearing loss are more prone to dementia, but by using hearing aids, they likely can improve their cognitive skills.


Hearing loss can make people feel frustrated and alone. Restoring the ability to engage socially and live confidently boosts quality of life.


Relationships rely on good communication. Hearing loss can hinder the potential for responsiveness, but using hearing aids is the start to repairing communication.

Better Hearing Institute (BHI). Addressing Hearing Loss Proves Win-Win for Both Employer and Employee. Accessed May 2015.

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First Steps to Better Hearing

A hearing evaluation, also known as a "hearing test", typically includes several tests that provide several assessments to determine a person's hearing sensitivity.

During the first visit to a hearing care professional, you will have your hearing assessed in a few steps. These include:

  • Answering some simple questions about your hearing experiences
  • Having your ear canals checked for obstructions
  • Listening and responding to different tones and speech samples

As the session progresses, the hearing care professional will complete a hearing chart (called an audiogram) showing the range of pitch and types of sound you can hear. If the results point to hearing loss, the hearing care professional will recommend hearing aids, if appropriate.

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Life is worth listening to!

Begin your journey to better hearing today!

Begin Your Journey to Better Hearing