Ear Feels Clogged and Muffled? Muffled Hearing Explained – Causes and Treatment

What is Muffled Hearing?

Muffled hearing refers to when your hearing is impaired and sounds don’t come through as expected. It often feels like something is in your ear, blocking the sound from coming through. Muffled hearing can occur in either one ear or both, and can also develop over time or instantly. It can affect anyone, at any age.

The treatment of muffled hearing very much depends on what is causing it. Muffled hearing can be the result of a variety of factors, all of which will require a different approach for treating it.

The best course of action is to visit a hearing specialist and sign up for a hearing assessment. This will highlight what is the root cause of any hearing impairment and ensure you can get treatment that will solve your particular hearing problems.

Potential Causes of Muffled Hearing

  1. Earwax/Blockage

The compaction of earwax in the ear canal is a common cause for what feels like muffled hearing. The earwax creates a barrier that makes it much harder for sound waves to pass from the outer ear, to the inner ear. This results in a slight impairment of hearing. The more wax that is present, the more likely it could create hearing impairment.

Earwax plays an important role in the sensory system and helps prevent bacteria/dust from getting into the ear. Everyone needs earwax, however, excessive levels which harden are likely to lead to a feeling of blocked ears and muffled hearing.

It isn’t just earwax that can create a blockage – other materials/debris could get into the ear and create this.

If earwax or other debris is the underlying cause for your muffled hearing, then it is likely to be temporary and something that can be rectified with a variety of earwax removal solutions. Depending of the level of the blockage, a hearing specialist can recommend the best course of action.

  1. Otitis Externa/Ear Infection

Otitis Externa is the inflammation of the ear. This is a result of bacterial growth and leads to muffled hearing, ear pain and sometimes a discharge of liquid from the ear.

It is caused when bacteria gets into the ear and causes an infection

Otitis Externa is often referred to as Swimmer’s Ear as it is a common infection that swimmers are vulnerable to. This is because water remains in the ear, creating a moist environment, that aids bacterial growth. This leads to infections in the ear that is likely to impair hearing.

A perforated eardrum or damage to any part of the inner ear, is also likely to impact hearing. Depending on the severity, this may require surgery.

  1. Other Infections/Illnesses

The common cold, flu, viruses, and other illnesses can often result is muffled hearing. This is due to inflammation in the ear canal that swells and makes the ear feel blocked and muffled.

The hearing system is sensitive and as the body fights bacteria and illnesses, hearing can be temporarily impaired.

  1. Pressure Imbalance

Hearing impairment due to pressure, often referred to as airplane ear, is a common cause for temporary hearing discomfort. Ear pressure balance can be affected by flights, diving as well as infections and colds.

This type of muffled hearing usually disappears after swallowing/yawning, however, in severe cases can actually damage the ear drum. Deep sea diving without equalising properly can be a common cause for damaged hearing.

  1.  Meniere’s Disease

One of the symptoms of Meniere’s Disease is a feeling of clogged/stuffy ears. Meniere’s Disease is caused by a build-up of fluid but there is no definitive answer into why some people get the disease. There are links between Meniere’s Disease and constrictions in blood vessels similar to what migraine suffers get, while others think it is linked to allergies.

Meniere’s Disease is usually associated with feeling dizzy and ringing in the ears too. If any of these symptoms are present, it is best to consult a doctor right away.

  1. Hearing Loss

Asymmetric hearing loss is where your hearing is worse in one ear than the other. This often results in people noticing the difference in hearing between their ears and describe the worse ear as feeling blocked or muffled.

Sensorineural hearing loss can also make hearing feel blocked, full or muffled. This requires specialist treatment and management, which is why the treatment for muffled hearing depends so much on the cause.

Treatment for Muffled Hearing

Treatment for muffled hearing will very much depend on the cause. Therefore, visiting a hearing specialist to get a professional diagnosis is the first thing anyone with muffled hearing should do.

If something like earwax is the cause for your muffled hearing, there are a variety of simple home solutions, such as ear drops, that will soften the wax and help remove it. Within a few days, your hearing is likely to be back to normal. If it is severe, the hearing specialist may use tools and equipment to remove the earwax.

A hearing test will ensure your muffled hearing isn’t actually a result of sensorineural hearing loss. Muffled hearing may just be one symptom that points to a much more serious condition. This type of hearing impairment is actually a result of hearing loss and treatment such as hearing aids are likely to be required to solve such issues.

Conductive Hearing Loss refers to when something is blocking canals and passages associated with hearing. This can be relatively simple to treat and the effects of muffled earing can be reversed. Sensorineural Hearing Loss is more serious and refers to the damage of the hair cells in the ear. This is often permanent and requires management as opposed to treatment. Hearing aids are usually the recommended way to manage this type of hearing loss.

For help getting started with hearing assessment and the best treatment specifically for you, get in touch with our friendly team today. We can help support and guide you to ensure you have the knowledge and products that will help improve the quality of your hearing in day-to-day life.

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Cookie Bite Hearing Loss – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

What is Cookie Bite Hearing Loss?

Cookie bite hearing loss is a form of sensorineural hearing loss. It is associated with impairment and a loss of hearing to mid-frequency sounds. The name originates from the audiogram, as someone suffering from this type of hearing loss has an audiogram curve that looks like a cookie with a bite taken out of it. Hearing at low and high frequencies are fine, but the middle range sounds are impaired, reflecting a dipping audiogram curve.

Cookie bite hearing loss is also often simply referred to as “mid-range hearing loss.”

With this type of hearing loss, it can be very difficult to make sense of the real world, as certain sounds come through loudly, while other sounds may be impaired and not heard. For example, someone with cookie bite hearing loss may struggle to follow a conversation, but may pick up loud high frequency sounds in the background. This creates a very uneven interpretation of sound and the surrounding environment.

Most comfortable sounds are mid-frequency and as a result, not being able to hear these sounds make social interactions and listening very difficult. Listening to someone talk, watching the TV, listening to music, and most daily interactions, are all going to be impacted by a loss of mid-frequency sounds.

Reverse Cookie Bite Hearing Loss

An audiogram will also show evidence of someone suffering from what is known as “reverse cookie bite hearing loss.” This form of hearing loss is identified by an opposite curve of regular cookie bite hearing loss. Mid frequency sounds are normal, while low and high frequencies are impaired. This creates a bell-shaped curve on an audiogram.

Symptoms of Cookie Bite Hearing Loss

One of the problems with cookie bite hearing loss is the fact that the symptoms can be hard to identify at an early stage. Although present from child birth, the condition may not be noticed until much later in life. This means having regular hearing tests as a child, right through to adulthood, is recommended to spot any indicators from an audiogram.

It can progress over time, so it is important to get on top of the condition as soon as possible.

We can’t diagnose such a condition simply from anecdotal and patient interpretation of their hearing. There are a wide range of types of hearing loss and it wouldn’t be clear if hearing impairment was cookie bite or something else, without first having a hearing test and using an audiogram. Sensorineural hearing loss and damage to hearing cells may also create hearing impairment that creates similarly uneven hearing.

Causes of Cookie Bite Hearing Loss

Cookie bite hearing loss is regarded as being a generically inherited condition. Unlike many other types of hearing loss that are caused by damage to the hearing cells, cookie bite hearing loss is largely associated with a genetic disposition resulting in this inability to hear mid frequency sounds.

Due to the cause coming from genetics, it is important for children who have any family member with the condition to get their hearing tested. There is an increased chance of a child inheriting the condition if either parent or a close relative has it.

Similarly, if a child is diagnosed with the condition, parents may often be surprised to find out they also have the condition, without every realising it. As problems with hearing often don’t become apparent until 30s-40s, it can go under the radar for a long time.

Cookie bite hearing loss is a form of sensorineural hearing loss. This refers to hearing impaired due to problems with the inner ear or associated nerve pathways.

Treatment of Cookie Bite Hearing Loss

Unfortunately, cookie bite hearing loss can’t be cured. As a result, the best form of treatment is with a hearing aid. It is important to find a hearing aid suitable for the amplification of mid-frequency sounds. Unlike other types of hearing loss, general amplification of sounds is not an effective form of treatment as the low and high frequencies will become too loud and unbearable.

Special hearing aids that can pick up and amplify mid-frequency sounds, as well as potentially limiting low and high frequencies, mean those who suffer from cookie bite hearing loss can have dramatically improved hearing.

Most hearing treatment is designed for total loss of hearing or high frequencies. This means treatment for mid-range frequencies is somewhat limited in comparison.

Cookie bite hearing loss is a very personal condition and a result, there isn’t one particular hearing aid setting that will solve the problems. Instead, it requires hearing professionals to work closely with the patient and test different methods of amplifying and limiting various frequencies until the patient feels their hearing is comfortable. One of the main focuses is to control the high and low frequencies as much as improving the mid frequencies, otherwise it can cause extreme discomfort.

Although the condition hasn’t received as much attention as other types of hearing loss, due to its rarity, modern hearing aids with lots of functionality are more likely to help improve cookie bite hearing.

You will also need each ear testing and a hearing aid optimised for each ear. The condition may result in relative similarities between both ears, or you may find one ear needs different setting from the other. To get the perfect solution to the hearing loss relies more on trial and error more than other forms of hearing loss, however, this simply reflects the complexities of the condition.

As the condition can worsen as you age, it is important to have regular check-ups and hearing tests to ensure your hearing aid is appropriately set to maximise your particular requirements.

Cookie Bite Hearing Loss and Hearing Solutions UK

If you’d like to learn more about cookie bite hearing loss, or book yourself an appointment with one of our hearing experts, simply get in touch today. We can help provide a professional hearing assessment and help you understand what type of hearing loss you have. From cookie bite hearing loss to any other type, we are here to help and here to ensure you get the service and products needed to enjoy better hearing.

Can I Wear Second-hand Hearing Aids?

Audiologists across the UK are often asked “is it safe to wear second-hand hearing aids?” or “should I consider wearing a used hearing aid?”. Although some people buy and sell worn hearing devices on online sites, such as eBay, it is actually illegal for audiologists to provide customers with pre-owned aids. This isn’t because the hearing aid provider wants to make more money, it’s to protect the health and hearing capability of customers. True, worn aids might be cheaper, but we strongly advise against using already worn aids for several reasons.
The aid won’t be customised to suit your requirements
When the original owner of the hearing aid received their hearing devices, they would have had a hearing test so that their audiologist could understand their level of hearing. The aid that they were prescribed would have then been programmed so that their needs would be catered for, and it is likely that their needs are different to yours. It’s therefore highly probable that you won’t benefit from wearing these already used aids. For example, your new aid might have been previously used for someone who has much more severe hearing difficulties than you have. As a result, the hearing aid will have an amplification that is too high for your ears, causing further damage to the health of your ears. Equally, if the amplification is too low, the hearing aids will provide minimal benefits.
Most hearing aids also have a feature that allows for different modes to be programmed, such as decreasing the volume in particularly loud places. Another feature is for calming noises to be played, to act as a distraction for people suffering from tinnitus. These specific programmes may not be preferable to you, and can be an irritating distraction.
With Hearing Solutions UK, you can rest assured that the hearing aid you are given after your free consultation will be programmed to satisfy your hearing requirements.
It’s likely that the aid won’t fit your ear
Not only will the aid be customised to someone else’s hearing capability, but it will also be customised to fit someone else’s ear size and shape. Hearing aids aren’t one-size-fits-all as everyone’s ears are different sizes and shapes. They are instead bespoke and made specifically to fit the shape of the original user’s ears so that as much comfort as possible is provided. Wearing a hearing aid that doesn’t correctly fit your ears will inevitably cause soreness, irritation and pain.
Wearing an ITE (in the ear) hearing aid that has been custom-made for someone else will cause discomfort as it has been made specifically to fit the ear canal of only the initial user. Likewise, a BTE (behind the ear) hearing aid is fitted to the ear with a custom earmold, which is likely to be a different size to a new user’s ear. It would be much more worthwhile booking a free consultation with one of our specialists, so that a custom-made and comfortable device can be issued.
Dated technology
It is also possible that the technology used in second-hand hearing aids are now dated, potentially limiting its performance. With recent developments in technology, hearing aids are now much more advanced, and can offer more than just improved hearing. The Sonorlite XL2020 Phonic Band, for example, allows telephone calls to be answered with one click and also music to be played through the earbuds. Although a second-hand aid may help your hearing, considerably more benefits will be provided by wearing a hearing aid that has been constructed with the latest technology.
Similarly, the design of a second-hand hearing aid might be outdated, causing irritation to the skin, and consequently making them uncomfortable to wear for longer durations. Nowadays, there’s a wide range of designs and styles available for you to choose from, such as receive in the canal (RIC) and behind the ear pre-programmed (BTEPP), allowing you to choose the model that provides you with optimum comfort.
The aid might come in poor condition
Another factor to consider when buying an already worn hearing aid is the condition that it comes in. For instance, the aid may’ve been used for numerous years, and the state of the aid is likely to have gradually deteriorated, or perhaps the aid hasn’t been regularly cleaned and therefore isn’t as hygienic as you’d want a new hearing aid to be. It is also possible that the previous owner of the aid is selling it because it has a faulty component that might not be repairable, or will come at an extra cost to mend.
What are the benefits of a new hearing aid?
Overall, a new hearing aid is significantly more comfortable and reliable. You can be assured that your audiologist will have programmed your device to satisfy your hearing requirements, as well make certain that the aid is the correct size and shape, ensuring maximum comfort. The vast majority of audiologists also only prescribe hearing aids that have been manufactured by established and dependable brands, such as Oticon, and with the latest technology.
If you think your current hearing aid isn’t benefiting you as much as you’d like, or is irritating and uncomfortable to wear, arrange for a free consultation with one of our audiologists where we can help find you an appropriate hearing aid for your needs.

The post Can I Wear Second-hand Hearing Aids? appeared first on Hearing Solutions UK.

Hearing Test at Home – Benefits and What It Involves

What does a Hearing Test at Home Involve?

A hearing test at home is as thorough and valuable as a hearing test carried out at a hearing centre, and usually lasts around an hour. One of our hearing specialists will visit your home address, and use the latest, most advanced and reliable technology to carry out the full assessment in the comfort of your own home. It can be helpful if a family member or one of your close friends is present during the test, as they can provide additional information regarding your hearing, which will further assist the audiologist’s understanding of you.
The initial part of the hearing test involves one of our HCPC registered audiologists getting to know you and your medical history. This includes your history of jobs, any health conditions you have had in the past and any hobbies or interests you have, enabling the audiologist to understand you as a person so that a suitable solution can be found.

Audiologist appointment at home

The audiologist will then inspect the physical condition and health of your ears by checking your eardrums and outer ear for any signs of damage or infection, as well as examining the inside of your ear canal. This allows the specialist to check for any wax build-up, and any other possible physical issues with your ear.
The next part is the ‘actual’ test. You will be given headphones to wear, which will play different sounds in one ear or the other, requiring you to press a button when you hear a sound. This allows the specialist to see how well you can hear different levels and pitches. The test will then be repeated, but with a headband rather than headphones, as some hearing aids function by passing sound through vibrations in the skull. For some people, this method may not be applicable, but the audiologist wants to get an understanding of the different options available to you.
As soon as the assessment has concluded, the audiologist will discuss your results. If any hearing loss or difficulties are detected, possible causes and consequences will be explained, and you will be made aware of the potential benefits that wearing a digital hearing aid will bring. Each device has specific benefits, so our specialists will consider your diagnosis, test results, nature of your job and your hobbies to make sure an appropriate solution is decided.
What are the Benefits of a Hearing Test at Home?
Visiting a health or hearing centre can be a daunting and nerve-racking experience, but having the assessment performed in the comfort of your own home can help reduce the anxiety of some people. The test is also of the same standard as a test performed at a hearing centre, so you needn’t worry about not receiving a fully accurate assessment.
Due to physical conditions of some patients, it can be difficult or painful to leave the house, particularly if you don’t live near a hearing centre, or you don’t drive. However, with home assessments you don’t have to worry about leaving your home, as the audiologist will come to you, and the whole assessment will be completed in your home.
Losing hearing can be a personal subject and some people may not want to share their health condition with others. By having a specialist visit you rather than the you visit the audiologist, all information can be kept confidential. At Hearing Solutions UK, we respect that hearing loss can be a sensitive subject, and we make the process of diagnosing and assisting with your hearing as discreet, sensitive and personal as possible.

Do I Need a Hearing Test?

As hearing capabilities can change overtime, it’s advised that you have a hearing check-up every two – three years, allowing for any hearing problems that have developed to be diagnosed early. Generally, people start to lose hearing as they get older, and having regular visits ensures that you keep on top of it, and have any problems addressed. Even if you have been prescribed a hearing aid, it’s important that you frequently visit a hearing specialist, as the state of your aid might have naturally declined, and your hearing capability might have gradually improved, meaning that a new hearing aid needs to be prescribed.

Symptoms that Suggest You are Losing your Hearing

Hearing loss doesn’t develop overnight, it’s a gradual process that you might not notice for a while – sometimes it’s even family members or friends that first point it out. However, if you notice any of the following symptoms, it could be an indicator that you have some form of hearing difficulty:
  • You sometimes mishear or struggle to understand conversations, especially when communicating on the phone or if there is a distraction in the room, such as the TV.
  • When guests come into your home, they state that your TV is loud.
  • You feel tired from trying to hear and follow conversations.
If you feel that you are suffering from any of the above, book a free consultation with Hearing Solutions UK today to get any problems diagnosed, and to receive an appropriate solution.

What are the Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss?

Living with hearing problems can cause stress, frustration and sometimes depression. If you don’t see a specialist concerning your hearing, it’s possible that your hearing will deteriorate and lead to more severe issues. Untreated hearing loss can also have a damaging impact on your family and friends as having to keep asking people to repeat what they have said will inevitably anger people and get tedious after a while.
For help managing your hearing loss, book a free consultation today. All of Hearing Solutions UK’s audiologists are members of the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists, ensuring we adhere to the professional body’s standards, and provide all customers with the most accurate diagnosis and solution possible.
The post Hearing Test at Home – Benefits and What It Involve appeared first in Hearing Solutions UK. 

 

Osteoporosis – What is it and How to Manage it

 
It’s important that we try to keep our bones strong and healthy so that we maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. Not only do bones provide a frame for our body, but they also protect our internal organs and work with our muscles to enable us to move. However, due to a variety of reasons, bone problems and conditions, such as osteoporosis, can develop. The diseases can affect our daily lifestyle, and can restrict the activities that we participate in.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens the strength of bones, increasing their fragility and the chances of a break or fracture occurring. Generally, it’s not osteoporosis that causes the pain, instead, the disease increases the chances of a break occurring, which therefore increases the opportunity for pain to emerge.
Osteoporosis doesn’t develop overnight, it gradually develops over several years. Anyone can have the bone condition, but people who have a history of osteoporosis in their family are more likely to suffer from it, as are people who have a low BMI (body mass index).
In most cases, wrists, hips or the spine are the parts of the body that suffer from osteoporosis the greatest, however, it’s not uncommon for other parts of the body to be affected.
How to manage Osteoporosis
As osteoporosis heightens the chances of a break occurring, it’s crucial that the person suffering from it takes certain precautions to minimise the possibility. Even the smallest of incident could cause a fracture, and therefore a significant amount of pain.
Consume calcium
As a child, you might have been told by your parents or doctor to incorporate a considerable amount of calcium into your diet as it helps your bones strengthen and grow. However, it’s also important for adults and the elderly to consume a sizeable amount of the mineral, especially those suffering with osteoporosis as their bones are weak and brittle. Calcium won’t completely heal the disease, but not getting a satisfactory amount further increases the chance of a bone breaking, or rickets developing. Examples of food that contain high levels of calcium are milk, yoghurt and nuts, but eating a healthy and balanced diet every day should ensure that a satisfactory amount of calcium is consumed.
It’s also worth noting that consuming vitamin D will assist the benefits of calcium. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb the calcium from any food the body digests, so not taking in a substantial amount of the vitamin will limit the effect that calcium is having on the weak bones. Egg, cheese and fish are just a few examples that are rich in vitamin D.
How to reduce the risk of falls
A natural reaction when you trip, stumble or fall is to put your hands and arms out in front of you, but if someone who has osteoporosis does this, they will almost certainly break their wrists. It’s impossible to completely eradicate the possibility of trips or falls, but to minimise the risk, keep all floor space uncluttered and unimpeded. Another precaution you can undertake, is to ensure you have a bath mat to reduce the possibility of slipping when getting out of the bath or shower.
Sleep on a suitable bed
Despite osteoporosis not directly causing pain, people who suffer from it often have a lack of strength, causing daily tasks, such as getting out of bed, to be a struggle. One way to help overcome this is by using furniture and tools that provide assistance. The Bingley Bed, for example, not only provides a handle bar to assist with getting in and out of bed, but it can also rotate and manoeuvre for extra assistance.

Maintain a good posture
To support the natural curve of the spine, it’s fundamental that a good posture is maintained, one that doesn’t strain the back muscles or spine. This is particularly important for people who suffer from osteoporosis, as putting stress on the already weak spine risks the chance of a break occurring. When sitting in a chair, both fleet should be flat on the floor, and the hips and knees at the same level. This helps to ensure that the spine isn’t irregularly curved, helping the spine to strengthen and also to reduce the chances of a bone breaking. At The Mobility Furniture Company, we have a selection of stylish and contemporary homecare chairs that help support the spine by encouraging a healthy posture.
Have regular eyesight tests
It’s essential that anyone who suffers from osteoporosis has frequent eyesight tests to reduce the chances of tripping over hazards. As previously mentioned, even the slightest of trips can cause broken bones, so it’s important that your eyes are taken good care of, and suitable glasses worn if required.
If you are suffering from osteoporosis, or any other bone problem, and want to find out more about how our products can make life easier, contact a member of our team today.

 

Meniere’s Disease – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Meniere’s Disease is a health condition that affects the inner ear. It is believed roughly 1 in 1,000 people in the UK suffer from the disease, with it being more prominent in adults, between 20-60, and slightly more common in women than men.
Meniere’s Disease is a progressive condition that impacts hearing and balance. This results in episodes of vertigo, tinnitus, hearing impairment and pressure build-up in the ear.
The increased pressure created in the ear by Meniere’s Disease means those living with the condition can experience episodes of dizziness, vomiting and impaired hearing.  Episodes usually last a few hours but can take days to fully recover from and return to normal health.
The severity of each symptom and the frequency of which individuals experience problems associated with Meniere’s Disease varies from person to person. For some, vertigo, dizziness and vomiting may be the main symptoms, whereas for others, the impairment of hearing can be the main symptom.
If you think you may suffer from Meniere’s Disease, the most important first step is to contact your GP and get a medical diagnosis. Many of the symptoms can be caused by other illnesses and conditions, so getting a trusted diagnosis is important – from there, you can get the best management and treatment for your personal circumstances.
Causes of Meniere’s Disease
It is not fully understood what the causes of Meniere’s Disease are. There are many theories, but none have been widely accepted as the root cause of the condition.
A build up of fluid in the inner ear, called “endolymph,” is often associated with creating a build-up of pressure in the ear, that results in the various symptoms associated with the illness. This build-up of fluid is thought to be a common trait in suffers of Meniere’s Disease, but it’s not fully understood how this fluid build-up causes symptoms such as vertigo, dizziness and hearing impairment.
Potential causes that could impact the amount of fluid in the inner ear, include: a lack of fluid drainage, blockages, allergies, migraines, head injuries, or potentially a hereditary genetic predisposition.
Some believe it could be likely that a combination of factors leads to episodes, as opposed to a single factor.
Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease
A medical diagnosis is needed to decide if Meniere’s Disease is the cause, or whether something else is causing the Meniere’s Disease-like symptoms. For example, vertigo or loss of hearing could be caused by a multitude of reasons.
For causes of hearing loss, make sure you have a hearing test to understand the degree to which you’re experiencing impaired hearing.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor for a professional diagnose to understand what’s causing it and whether its Meniere’s Disease:
  • Vertigo & Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Loss of Hearing
  • Tinnitus
  • Balance Impairment
Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease vary from person to person, making it hard to summarise a universal experience of the condition. The frequency of symptoms can also vary, sometimes having remissions between episodes of days, or other times, years. This makes it hard to predict and manage as it’s relatively unknown when a patient will next be impaired by the disease.
The unpredictable episodes of vertigo and vomiting are the most notable symptoms of the illness. Tinnitus and other impairment to hearing are other common symptoms associated with Meniere’s Disease.
Meniere’s Disease is often thought to be categorised into 3 stages: early, middle and late. Each stage has a certain distinctive characteristic in the symptoms it presents, however, the progress of Meniere’s Disease means individuals may pass through each stage differently.
Generally, it is thought in the early stages of Meniere’s Disease, a patient may expect more episodes, and symptoms like vertigo and dizziness are more prominent. In later years of the condition, patients may experience fewer episodes and hearing loss becomes the most notable aspect of the condition.
Meniere’s Disease and Hearing Loss
In terms of hearing loss, the disease can be associated with the following for each stage:
Stage 1 – Hearing is impaired during episodes but returns to normal between each episode.
Stage 2 – Hearing fluctuates and doesn’t return to normal.
Stage 3 – Hearing loss is prominent.
The build-up of pressure and sudden release of pressure damages the inner ear and over time impairs hearing. If the inner ear is damaged, solutions such as hearing aids can potentially help limit the impact of this damage.
Treatment for Meniere’s Disease
Unfortunately, there is no definitive cure for Meniere’s Disease, but there are recommendations for managing the condition. Before trying to treat Meniere’s Disease, consult a doctor and get a professional diagnose that meets your specific circumstances.
The unpredictable nature of the disease makes it difficult to manage for many. It can impact the ability to drive, career opportunities, hobbies, and general lifestyle.
During an episode, the NHS recommends the following:
“Take your medication, sit or lie down, close your eyes, or keep them fixed on an object in front of you, don’t turn your head quickly, if you need to move, do so slowly and carefully. Once the attack is over, try to move around to help your eyesight and other senses compensate for the problems in your inner ear.”
For long-term treatment of the condition, your doctor may be able to prescribe certain medication or lifestyle recommendations to help reduce the impact of episodes. Certain diets are often encouraged, and medications such as Betahistine.
Hearing Solutions UK for Hearing Assessments and Solutions
For symptoms associated with hearing impairment and hearing loss, Hearing Solutions UK can offer hearing assessments and guidance on hearing aids/products. Our expert team can ensure you get the best solutions for your specific circumstances, and feel confident your hearing is managed in a way that suits you.
To learn more about hearing assessments or getting set up with hearing aids, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, or book an appointment today.

 

What are the Effects of Hearing Loss?

Who Suffers from Hearing Loss?

In a recent BBC article, it was discovered that ten million people in the UK (one-sixth of the UK’s population) suffer from some form of hearing loss. More than 40% of people over 50 and 70% of over 70 year olds suffer from some form of hearing loss, providing strong evidence that hearing capability declines with age. However, old age isn’t the only cause of hearing loss, it can be caused by multiple factors, such as noise exposure, ear disease or because of hereditary influences.

Why Don’t People Treat Hearing Loss?

Most people that live with hearing troubles don’t realise they have hearing problems until the difficulty is significantly severe. On average, Brits wait 10 years before they seek treatment concerning their hearing problems, and during this time, it’s likely that the condition of the hearing difficulty will have considerably deteriorated. It is thought that less than half of the people who require hearing aids have them, possibly because they are frightened of visiting an audiologist, or because they haven’t noticed the gradual worsening of their hearing loss.

At Hearing Solutions UK, one of our audiologists will visit you at home for free. Book now >

Although hearing aids are advanced as ever, and more discreet than they used to be, it appears that people are still reluctant to wear hearing aids. However, as well as effects such as fatigue and stress, there is mounting evidence to suggest that untreated hearing loss can substantially increase the risk of developing dementia.

Hearing Loss and Fatigue

One of the most common repercussions of living with hearing loss is fatigue. When living with hearing loss, it is the brain’s responsibility to fill in the blanks and process what has been said so that you can best understand the conversation. However, this requires considerably more effort than someone who is living with healthy hearing, inevitably increasing the chances of you becoming tired. The best way to avoid fatigue related to hearing loss is to make sure you are wearing a suitable hearing aid, one that is programmed to assist with your individual requirements. This should hopefully enable your ability to recognise more sounds, preventing the brain from having to fill in as many gaps and working as hard.

Hearing Loss Associated with Cognitive Decline and Dementia

In the past few years, there has been substantial research into the relation of hearing loss and dementia. It is believed that the longer you live with untreated hearing difficulties, the higher the possibility that your cognitive skills will decline, as well as an increased chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia conditions. Studies have suggested that living with restricted levels of hearing can cause the brain to overcompensate and put too much effort into trying to hear, causing a decline in cognitive skills, and the longer the brain has to overcompensate, the more likely it is that dementia will develop. However, by treating the hearing difficulties at an early stage, you can reduce the chances of developing these serious conditions.

Hearing Loss and Social Isolation

Social isolation is a common consequence of leaving hearing loss untreated. For some people, they feel embarrassed that they can’t always understand the conversation, and for others they feel it is too much effort to try and follow the speech of their peers. This can cause the person with hearing difficulties to refuse to socialise with friends and family, and instead distance themselves from others, rarely leaving their own home.

It’s also not uncommon for people to feel ashamed of their hearing problems due to people getting angry and annoyed when they have to repeat themselves numerous times. Not only can this make the person feel unwelcome, but it can also lead to more serious conditions developing, such as depression and anxiety.

How to Improve Hearing in Social Situations

Wearing a suitable hearing aid is the most beneficial measure to improve hearing in social situations. However, it is paramount that a suitable aid is worn. It must be the correct size and fitting, and it is crucial that it is it has been programmed and customised to suit the requirements of the user. Hearing aids aren’t generic nor one size fits all, they are bespoke and made to meet the needs of their particular user. If you think you are having difficulty with your hearing, book a free consultation today with one of Hearing Solutions UK’s audiologists.

Although they aren’t as effective, there are other tips that may help with hearing in social situations. For example, making sure the room is well-lit so that you can see the movements of the speaker’s mouth while speaking, and asking people not to cover their mouth whilst speaking. Being able to see the movements of the speaker’s mouth is thought to help people understand what is being said. Another idea, especially when in large groups, is to position yourself in the middle of the party so that you give yourself the best opportunity of being able to hear what everyone is saying.

If you are experiencing any of the above effects, or feel that your hearing is declining, get in touch with a member of our team today. We’re here to provide expert advice, and support you in finding a solution to your hearing loss.