Hearing loss test
Hearing loss affects about 10 million people in the UK, and a whopping 6 million could benefit from hearing aids. Experiencing hearing loss can be isolating. Some of our patients rightly describe it as a hidden handicapping condition. In most cases, no one apart from your significant others may understand what you are going through. And until you have a comprehensive hearing assessment, it can be hard to accept you are losing your hearing. We offer a bespoke hearing assessment, including a hearing aid test so you can discover and listen to sounds you have been missing out on. Find out if you have a hearing loss.
Levels of hearing loss
Types of hearing loss | Hearing loss causes
The most basic form of ear anatomy divides your ears into three main parts; the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. The outer ear comprises
- your pinna (the floppy bit),
- ear canal (where ear wax lives), and
- your eardrum.
The middle ear comprises the three smallest bones in the body as well as other more detailed structures. The inner ear includes your cochlea (the main hearing organ) and the balance organ.
Hearing loss can either be bilateral or unilateral. Bilateral hearing loss refers to a hearing loss in both ears. In contrast, unilateral hearing loss means the hearing loss affects only one ear.
Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss that affects your inner ear only. Common causes include age-related hearing loss, genetic, acquired by head trauma, noise, ailments such as stroke or meningitis, etc.
Conductive hearing loss: Hearing loss that affects your outer or middle ear. Common causes of conductive hearing loss include
- ear wax hearing loss – temporary hearing loss due to ear wax,
- ear infection hearing loss (a hearing loss caused by an ear infection),
- hearing loss due to a burst eardrum, etc.
Mixed hearing loss: A combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
Emergency cases of hearing loss | Sudden sensorineural hearing loss
Sometimes, you might experience a sudden hearing loss resulting from ear wax blockage or middle ear fluid. Suppose ear wax is causing your sudden hearing loss. In that case, we can almost guarantee that your hearing will return to normal as soon as we remove the ear wax. In other cases, the cause of your sudden hearing loss may be sensorineural. In these cases, to stand a better chance of recovering your hearing, you will need to consult an ENT specialist within two weeks from the start date of the symptoms. We recommend you treat all sudden hearing loss cases as an emergency.
So, how do you tell if your hearing loss is permanent or temporary? You can book an emergency appointment with us, and we will see you within a few hours to determine the nature of your hearing loss. Then, suppose we confirm you have sensorineural hearing loss. In that case, we can either recommend you attend A&E immediately or see a private ENT consultant within 24 hours. We can refer you to some of the most renowned UK ENT consultants on Harley St. These consultants can see you in 48 hours.
Most patients would ask, “can I get my hearing back?” We can’t guarantee that your hearing will be restored to normal. However, you stand a significantly better chance if you are treated within two weeks of noticing the symptoms. So, whether your sudden or partial hearing loss comes with ringing or not, see a specialist urgently.
Hearing loss and dementia
A recent meta-analysis concluded that hearing loss may increase the risk of dementia in the adult population. Hence, it makes sense that the effective management of hearing loss would most likely mitigate one of the risk factors for dementia. We strongly advise over 55s and patients with a diagnosed hearing loss to have an annual hearing review to pick up on any subtle changes in hearing as early as possible.
Hearing loss in Children
Hearing loss in children can be congenital (from birth) or late-onset (in later years). The causes range from genetic to acquired. In England, the newborn hearing screening programme is set up in a fail-safe way, so it is very difficult to miss a congenital hearing loss. Some places also offer children a school entry screen to identify late-onset hearing loss (at age five).
After childbirth, newborns undergo a newborn hearing test. Then at age five, in some areas, they undergo another test called the pre-school entry test. Between this five-year period and beyond, the onus is on parents to identify any potential signs of hearing loss and report to the GP or seek private service like ours. Our service caters for the international community, including children visiting the UK who are not entitled to hearing care in the NHS.
We offer a comprehensive hearing service for children:
- Private children’s hearing test
- Home hearing test for children
- Home hearing test for babies
- Hearing aids for children
Not all audiologists are qualified to perform children hearing loss tests and fit hearing aids for children. With many years of paediatric experience, our private hearing specialists are highly skilled in detecting hearing loss in children. Once we detect a hearing loss, alongside providing hearing aids, we refer your child to an ear expert for aetiology (finding out the cause of the hearing loss). This is important because the more information we have on the hearing loss, the better we can manage your child’s hearing impairment.