Steps to Take if You Think You Have Hearing Loss

Updated on March 13, 2024

Has your hearing declined recently? Do you struggle to keep up with conversations, especially in noisy environments? If you’re experiencing signs of potential hearing loss, there are important steps you should take. Addressing hearing issues early can help prevent long-term problems. Read on for key actions recommended by UK hearing health experts if you think your hearing has diminished.

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  1. Speak with Your GP

As a first step, book an appointment to see your general practitioner if you have concerns about your hearing. There are numerous potential causes of hearing loss, some serious, and your GP can refer you to audiology services for proper diagnosis and treatment if needed.

Your doctor can check for the buildup of earwax, which can cause temporary hearing impairment, and also examine you for infections or other abnormalities. Certain medications can also impact hearing, so review all your prescription and over-the-counter drugs with your GP.

  1. Get Your Ears Checked for Wax Buildup

Ear wax naturally accumulates to protect and lubricate the ears, but too much wax can obstruct sound and muffle what you hear. Your GP may recommend that you get your ears flushed to remove excess cerumen (ear wax). Or your doctor might refer you to an ear irrigation clinic for wax removal.

Excess wax is one of the most common reversible causes of dulled hearing. Having a specialist remove the extra wax is crucial so you can determine if you have underlying sensorineural hearing loss. Ear wax removal is usually quick, safe, and painless when performed properly by an audiologist or other specialist.

  1. Undergo Hearing Tests

If you still have hearing difficulties after ear wax removal, the next critical step is to have your hearing thoroughly checked. Your GP can put in an urgent referral to an NHS audiology clinic in your area.

NHS and private audiologists perform a battery of exams to evaluate your auditory function. You’ll likely undergo pure tone testing to determine your hearing thresholds across different sound frequencies. Speech recognition tests also help diagnose issues. The assessment results enable the audiologist to pinpoint the nature and degree of any hearing damage.

  1. Consider Hearing Aids or Implants

For many types of irreversible inner ear hearing impairment, hearing aids offer the simplest solution to amplify and clarify sounds. NHS audiology services can carry out hearing aid assessments and fittings. There are also private audiologists. The newest digital hearing aids allow you to stream audio directly from smartphones and similar devices.

If your hearing loss is very severe, a cochlear implant may help restore function. Implants differ from hearing aids in that they electrically stimulate the auditory nerve directly. The NHS has cochlear implant centres across the UK.

  1. Explore Assistive Devices

Besides conventional hearing aids, also ask your audiologist about assistive listening devices that can enhance your auditory function at home, work, and in social settings. Telephones, televisions, and smoke alarms with amplified audio output are extremely useful. Alerting devices that use visual cues or vibrations provide awareness of doorbells, alarm clocks, and other sound sources. 

Now that you know what to do when you have tinnitus or other hearing issues, visit a professional as soon as possible. Don’t delay if you think your hearing is declining. The sooner you move forward with professional consultations and treatment, the better. Even if loss is permanent, today’s hearing solutions let you stay actively connected with family, friends, entertainment, and more.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.