Hearing loss occurs in adults and children and may be caused by common conditions such as impacted earwax, ear infections, foreign bodies, eardrum perforations (ruptured eardrums) and fluid trapped behind the eardrum (glue ear) after a bad cold. Longstanding ear disease such as destructive skin cysts and abnormal fixation of the ear bones may also cause hearing loss. In addition, many adults experience hearing loss as they grow older. Some patients may lose their hearing suddenly and it is extremely important to get this checked out immediately to optimise recovery and to rule out more sinister conditions like inner ear/brain tumours.
Difficulty in hearing should always be investigated thoroughly with a full history and examination. A hearing test (audiogram) should always be performed to determine the type of hearing loss, as it may be helped with surgery such as grommets (ventilation tubes), myringoplasty (eardrum repair), ossiculoplasty and stapedotomy (reconstruction of ear bones).
Hearing implants are also a reliable modern solution to today’s hearing problems and can considerably improve quality of life for those with hearing loss. These include bone conduction hearing devices (Bone Anchored Hearing Aids BAHA and Bonebridge) and cochlear implants.