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Hearing Loss Causes and Symptoms – Hearing Aids and Hearing Protection
Posted by David Cant on July 15, 2011

Hearing impairment is an extremely common problem in adults and children and can range from temporary poor quality hearing to permanent deafness. Some sufferers may notice their problems begun with a very slight reduction in the quality of their hearing which gradually worsened. This type of hearing loss can often be noise-induced and unbeknown to many sufferers, the effects are irreversible. However, if hearing is slightly damaged as a result of noise damage hearing aids and hearing protection can be used to assist hearing and prevent further deafness.

Many people believe slight hearing loss poses no major health risks, which is generally why they assume it’s no cause for concern. In reality, slight hearing loss can progress quickly if left undiagnosed. If anyone suspects their hearing may be impaired they should have a hearing test to be sure their quality of hearing isn’t below the norm.

Noise-induced hearing loss can be a major workplace issue particularly for those who work in industrial environments consisting of loud machinery and those in the armed forces. In work environments where people may be exposed to dangerous frequencies, ear protection should be provided to employees. Many workplaces displays signs to remind their employees that ear protection is required to maintain auditory health.

Many people are deterred by the concept of ear protection due to their perception of being old fashioned and ineffective, meaning the person’s hearing is muffled when wearing ear protection. However, ear protection has evolved from the days when cotton wool was probed down the ear canal in an attempt to protect hearing. Nowadays hearing protection is designed to repel dangerous frequencies whilst allowing safe volumes to still be audible. This makes hearing protection extremely efficient in a noisy workplace where verbal communication is still required.

It is important for workplaces to ensure appropriate hearing protection is provided if noise levels exceed the safety limit. Failure to do so is classed as a breach of the health and safety act 1974 and is a prosecutable offence which could result in the company being sued.

There are of course, other causes of hearing loss other than loud volumes. Ear infections, build-up of Cerumen (earwax) and diseases can also cause hearing problems. Ear infections are common in swimmers which is why many use ear protection, life guards may find they require ear protection if they are prone to infection.

Those who already suffer from hearing loss are advised to schedule an appointment for a hearing test. Should they be told their hearing is impaired they should take extra precautions and wear appropriate ear protection. Hearing aids can be used to improve the person’s hearing quality. Modern designs such as Phonak hearing aids can be very discreet so wearers needn’t worry about the hearing aid attracting unwanted attention.

Many people take their hearing for granted and expose their ears to dangerous frequencies and volumes, expecting their ears to withstand it. In order to protect their hearing, people should invest in ear protection where necessary and wear reputable brands such as Oticon hearing aids if their hearing is already impaired.


Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME's favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick.

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This post has been filed in: Guest Blogger, Workplace Health and Safety

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