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Improve Your Hearing - Getting Started

What is sound?

You can’t see or touch sound, but it’s all around us in different frequencies, with pitches ranging from low to high and loudness levels from soft to loud.

How you hear sound

Inside the ear there are several parts that work together to make it possible to hear sound.

  • When sound enters your ear it meets the eardrum. Like a drumkit, the eardrum turns the sound into vibrations, which are picked up by three tiny bones nearby.
  • The little bones work like drumsticks, amplifying the vibrations and sending them on to a shell-like structure in your inner ear (the ‘cochlea’).
  • The vibrations swirl through the cochlea, touching sensory cells (miniscule strands) and making them tinkle like piano keys to create a kind of sound code or melody.
  • A main nerve in the body, the auditory nerve, then decodes the details and transmits the final sound to your brain, so you can hear the sound as it’s meant to be. A voice. A bird. The ocean. Raindrops. A favourite riff in a song.
So, what actually is hearing loss?

Hearing loss happens when some of these sensory cells (think piano keys) get damaged due prolonged exposure to loud sounds, or they lose their tune over time. When this happens, tones can’t flow like before and some sounds get lost along the way. You might start to notice that you are missing these sounds. This varies depending on the degree of hearing loss.

Differenttypes of hearing loss

There are four types of hearing loss. Each type is classified according to a range of sounds that can be heard, often measured in decibels (dB), which is the intensity of sound.

Mild hearing loss
It’s difficult to hear in noisy and fast-moving group situations – restaurants, parties or shopping. High-pitched sounds, like birds chirping, are a challenge.

Moderate hearing loss
It’s difficult to hear in fixed group situations and conversations – family TV time, meetings or coffee with a friend. High-pitched sounds plus medium-pitched sounds and consonants (L, P, Ch) can be troublesome.

Severe to Profound hearing loss
Difficulty hearing in nearly all situations, from conversations at home to alert sounds, such as an alarm. High- and medium-pitched sounds plus deep low-pitched sounds, e.g. an aeroplane, are hard to hear.

Very good reasons why you should treat yourhearing loss

It’s proven that caring for your hearing has many health and happiness benefits:

  • Better communication and conversations, even in noise
  • Boosts self-image and confidence
  • Improved social life and mental health
  • Feeling healthier and less fatigued
  • Improvements in relationships and at work

Hearing is also very much related to your overall health. There are links between untreated hearing loss and dementia – the risk doubles even with mild hearing loss. That’s why it’s important to get a regular hearing check-up and get your hearing back on track ASAP.


Why a hearing care professional should be your first stop

Ears are delicate structures, and every person’s hearing is unique – both need to be handled with care. Hearing care professionals are qualified to do this and have years of audiology training. They will expertly check your hearing, guide you through the best options, and fit your hearing aids to create the right sound and comfort for you – not too little or too loud. They will also show you how to use the hearing aids and give the after-care you need.

What to expect at your visit

Going to see an audiologist is similar to seeing an optician. At your appointment, they will ask about your recent experiences before checking your hearing (you sit in a quiet room with headphones on and press a button when you hear sounds). The resulting audiogram, which is a snapshot of your hearing profile, will show if you have a hearing loss and, if so, which type. Your audiologist will then explain what this means and talk about the different options to help you.

That’s all for today. What’s happening tomorrow?

Hopefully you feel more comfortable with what hearing loss is and have learned some interesting facts. Perhaps you feel even closer to taking the next step. In tomorrow’s email, we’ll show you the amazing technological advances that have happened with hearing aids that can truly improve your everyday life. Spoiler alert: They are nothing like you remember.

In the meantime, if you feel like reading a bit more:

Find an Audiologist
We work with hearing care specialists across the UK. Our friendly UK based service team will be happy to help put you in touch with the most conveniently located audiologist in your local area.
Hearing Aids for Tinnitus
Many people with tinnitus have some degree of hearing loss. All ReSound hearing aids have inbuilt sound generators, specifically designed to help people with tinnitus. 
Hands-free Calls
iPhone and iPad users can now use ReSound ONE™ hearing aids as a hands-free headset to talk to family and friends. Enjoy conversations with outstanding sound quality.