Understanding hearing loss
All you need to prevent and help hearing loss
We’ve been a trusted name in the optical market for over 30 years. That’s thanks to our high standards of care, expertise, as well as value for money. We apply those same values to audiology.
We understand how important your hearing is, and we want to make sure that you continue to enjoy it for as long as possible. The information here will help you to understand hearing loss, how your ears work, and what we can do to help.
You might be surprised to know that hearing loss is really quite common. So if you find yourself, or someone you know struggling, we’re here to help. Here are some of the signs of hearing loss you may recognise:
Do you find it difficult to hear dialogue when you’re at the cinema or theatre? Does it sound like they’re mumbling?
Is it difficult sometimes to hear what the person at the end of the phone is saying?
Do you often mishear what others say or think that somebody has said something different?
What does hearing loss sound like?
Hear what it’s like to hear in everyday situations if you have low
frequency or high frequency hearing loss.
Let’s talk more about hearing loss
Eamonn Holmes’s years as a TV presenter have had a detrimental effect on his hearing. Now he’s taken action and ‘filled in the blanks’ with his new hearing aid – opening up a world of conversations and social gatherings once more.
During his visit to Specsavers Audiology, Eamonn was also given advice on how to best manage his own hearing loss. Eamonn now uses a hearing aid when he wants to and it has drastically improved the quality of his life. ‘I no longer feel left out of simple things such as drinks in the pub or watching TV.’
He says: ‘Without the hearing aid, I find it difficult to hear conversation in crowded surroundings such as parties and pubs. In those circumstances it is much more difficult to pick out speech from the background noise. I shy away from social gatherings, particularly parties, because there is only so many times you can say, “Pardon? What did you say?”’
His family life has also improved – it was his wife and children who noticed he had problems before he did.
‘As it would with anyone, often they are the first to know and the first to express frustration. So it can lead to tetchiness. I always sense that they feel this should only be something happening to a 90-year-old. I think that’s a common perception but one which needs to be changed because this can happen to so many people so much earlier in life, as I can testify.’
- Eamonn Holmes, TV presenter
How the ear works
So how do your ears actually work? The sounds you hear are picked up in the form of pressure waves, translated into electrical signals and then sent on to the brain. It’s all very clever really.
We owe our hearing to our ears’ complex and highly sensitive system. So it’s important that we protect them from the damaging effects of loud noise.
Most popular questions
For most people, it's advisable to have an eye test every two years, but it's best to attend earlier if any eye problems occur or if advised by your optometrist.
Yes. A comprehensive sight test includes checking the health of the inner and outer parts of the eye.
Even if you're happy with your vision it's worth having a regular check-up. Eyes can be affected by a number of conditions which may be picked up early through a sight test, giving it less chance of affecting your vision.
You should have an eye examination every two years or more regularly if advised by your optometrist.
It depends on the patient, but a young, healthy person with no apparent problems should take around 20 minutes.
Someone older, perhaps with high blood pressure, diabetes, glaucoma or other ailments can take much longer.
Your optician will determine what clinical tests are needed to provide the correct information for new spectacles or contact lenses; if necessary, they might refer the patient for a medical opinion.
Sight tests, also known as eye examinations, are more than just tests of your vision.
A comprehensive sight test includes a thorough examination of the front and back of the eye for any health problems, too.
You might have certain tests - such as 'auto-refraction' (to provide the optician with a rough estimate of any spectacle prescription) and 'tonometry' (a measurement of the pressure inside the eye) before entering the consulting room.
The optician will ask you questions about any problems you're having with your eyes or might have had in the past, and about any family history of eye problems (some eye problems can be hereditary).
The vision test (known as the 'refraction') includes the use of a letter chart, with different lenses being placed in front of the eye while the optician uses further techniques to fine-tune the prescription.
The prescription is the power of lens for the right and left eye which will correct the patient's vision. During the eye health check the optician checks the condition of the eye's various structures using an opthalmoscope and a number of other instruments such as a slit-lamp and a visual field analyser.