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eMed previously Babylon Health

Hearing Loss

Reviewed by Dr Claudia Pastides, 24th April 2019

Many consider hearing loss to be a sign of ageing, but hearing loss can also come on suddenly in one or both ears. Many people struggle with their hearing but few actually see a doctor about their concerns. You should speak to a GP about hearing loss straight away, to see if the cause can be treated before it gets any worse.

Around one in six people in the UK suffer with the condition so it’s more common than many realise. Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent, and it may be a sign of something more serious so it’s important to get it checked out.

Common symptoms

Hearing loss can be gradual, so you might not realise your hearing has deteriorated for quite a long time. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Visitors saying your television or radio is very loud
  • Asking people to repeat themselves
  • Misunderstanding what people are saying, especially in noisy places
  • Having trouble following a conversation

In some cases, hearing loss can be accompanied by other symptoms such as pain in the ear.

What causes hearing loss?

11 million people are currently living with hearing loss in the UK, and there are many different reasons behind it. Ageing is a risk factor – gradual hearing loss is a natural sign of getting older and can start in middle age. Other causes of hearing loss include:

  • Exposure to a very loud noise such as an explosion, which can cause temporary or permanent damage
  • Exposure to a noisy environment long-term, such as a building site
  • Perforated ear drum
  • Ear infection
  • Glue ear
  • A build-up of ear wax

Available treatments

Temporary hearing loss may get better on its own or with a simple procedure. For example, if ear wax is the problem a doctor can prescribe ear drops or flush it out, which should improve hearing.

If the cause of hearing loss is exposure to noisy environments, then a GP can recommend ways to stop the hearing loss from getting worse. Most types of gradual hearing loss are permanent, so the treatment simply makes the most of the remaining hearing in one or both ears. There are many different options of hearing aids and implants which are modern and discreet – make an appointment with an online doctor today to discuss the options.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.