Hearing Care & Optics

Hearing Care & Optics
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Symptoms of hearing impairment

Symptoms of hearing impairment.

The symptoms of hearing impairment will vary depending on what is causing it. Hearing loss can gradually develop over time, especially hearing loss related to noise exposure and age.
It can develop more rapidly when related to earwax, ear infection or disease in the middle ear.
People who wake up with a sudden loss of hearing in one ear or lose the hearing in one ear within a couple of days should see their GP as a matter of urgency, as early treatment may help.
Some hearing-related conditions can have symptoms other than hearing loss. For example, the condition tinnitus has symptoms such as continuous or intermittent ringing, hissing, whistling or buzzing noises.
Hearing impairment in children
Babies are routinely screened within the first few weeks of their birth as part of the Newborn Hearing Screening Programme (NHSP). Read more about how hearing impairment is diagnosed.
However, there are signs you can watch out for in your child which may suggest that you should see your GP to arrange another hearing test.
Signs in babies
You should consider seeing your GP if you notice that your baby or toddler:
  • is not startled by loud noises
  • does not turn to the source of a sound while under four months old
  • does not say single words by the time they are one year old
  • notices you when they see you but not when you call their name
  • hears some sounds but not others
Signs in children
You should consider seeing your GP if you notice your child:
  • is delayed in learning to talk, or they are not clear when they speak
  • often asks you to repeat yourself
  • often talks very loudly
  • often turns up the volume of the TV so that it is very loud
Read more about your child's development from their birth to five years old.
Levels of hearing impairment
There are four different levels of hearing impairment, which are defined by the quietest sound that you are able to hear, measured in decibels (dB). These are described below.
Mild deafness
If you are mildly deaf, the quietest sound that you can hear is between 25 to 39dB. Mild deafness can sometimes make following speech difficult, particularly in noisy situations.
Moderate deafness
If you are moderately deaf, the quietest sound that you can hear is between 40 to 69dB. You may have difficulty following speech without using a hearing aid.
Severe deafness
If you are severely deaf, the quietest sound that you are able to hear is between 70 to 89dB. People who are severely deaf usually need to lip-read or use sign language even with the use of a hearing aid.
Profound deafness
If you are profoundly deaf, the quietest sound that you can hear is 90dB or more. People who are profoundly deaf can often benefit from a cochlear implant. Other forms of communication include lip reading and sign language

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