Hearing Health & Tinnitus

Do you find hearing in crowds and background noise more challenging? Are your loved ones having to repeat themselves more often for you? Are you turning the TV or radio up louder? These are all signs of hearing loss.

Hearing loss can be caused by a buildup of wax in the outer ear, fluid in the middle ear, or the inner ear may have been damaged by medications, noise or simply ‘wear and tear’ as we get older.

A quick and free hearing check will ascertain if there are any blockages or medical treatment required, and if there is any loss of hearing. A full hearing assessment will offer a much more detailed picture of your full hearing health.

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WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE YOUR HEARING TESTED REGULARLY-
EVEN IF YOUR HEARING IS NORMAL

Most of us chose to live a long and healthy life, and so we attend our regular check-ups with the doctor, dentist and optician, however our hearing health is often overlooked. We understand that with annual check-ups, medical problems can be caught early and treated before becoming a major health risk. When it comes to our hearing, many people do not seek a specialist assessment until the symptoms have become a problem. A hearing loss can not only affect our ability to hear the world around us, but also cause numerous side effects such as social anxiety, depression and affecting our relationships with others.

Recent studies have found that untreated hearing loss can also cause earlier onset of memory loss and cognitive decline. There is an established link between hearing well and good brain health. By keeping our auditory pathways stimulated, exercising our brains, we maintain the status quo of healthy processing in the brain. If we hear the speech signal clearly, we are more likely to retain that information. If we are struggling to decipher speech we can suffer cognitive overload and so the brain has less capacity for other healthy functions, such as memory.

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Hearing loss is common, affecting approximately 900,000 New Zealanders, it is also sneaky and can creep up on you slowly. The first symptoms often noticed are turning the TV up louder than others might prefer, asking people to repeat more often because it sounds like they’re mumbling, and struggling to converse in background noise. However once you start to notice these problems you may already have a significant hearing loss, and at this point cognitive decline has already begun. Therefore it is important to have your hearing checked annually or biannually before you detect any symptoms, a baseline of your hearing health can be established and monitored.

There are many types and causes of hearing loss, which can be identified from a hearing test, then appropriate treatment can be recommended. This may be hearing aids or medical intervention from an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist, or simply a regular check up.

Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a name given to any sound we hear in the ears or head, which does not come from an external source. The sounds people hear vary greatly, the most common being described as a ringing, humming, buzzing or cicadas. The sound may be in one ear, both or more ‘in the head’, the sound may be constant or pulsing, or may only be audible in very quiet environments.
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Tinnitus is most often a symptom of a change, such changes include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Noise Exposure
  • Some medications
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Ear wax blockage
  • Perforated eardrum
  • Middle ear pathology

With a thorough hearing assessment we can assess these possible causes and more, in some cases a medical referral may be required for further assessment from an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist.

As yet there is no ‘cure’ for tinnitus despite years and years of dedicated research. However if there is some hearing loss alongside the tinnitus, wearing hearing aids to treat the hearing loss can often also ‘mask’ the tinnitus, allowing for some respite. Contact us now to book your hearing assessment, so we can give you the best advice for you and your tinnitus.

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