Hearing Loss

Hearing is the sense which helps us engage with the environment around us and communicate with others.

Despite its importance in everyday life, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), currently over 1.5 billion people are living with some form of hearing loss, with the number expected to rise to 2.5 billion by 2050.

Any sort of hearing loss at any age, if not addressed on time, could lead to adverse effects on your daily functions in life. Below you will find the risk factors of developing hearing impairment. It is important to be aware of these risk factors and to have your hearing checked if you are concerned that any apply to you.

Some risk factors for developing hearing loss are:


Hearing degeneration is normal over time, however it is recommended that from age 50 adults get their hearing checked every few years, even if without other risk factors for hearing deficiency.

Excessive Exposure to Loud Noise

Excessive or prolonged exposure to loud noise can cause permanent hearing damage that could need to be addressed. Prolonged exposure to loud noise can occur in a variety ofways, such as working in noisy environments around loud machinery or recreational activities such as listening to loud music regularly.

Past Viral and Bacterial Infections

Viral and bacterial infections can cause hearing loss by causing damage to the middle or inner ear. If you’ve experienced hearing loss after a viral or bacterial infection, it is really

important to get a hearing test and not to ignore your symptoms.


Certain medications are classified as “Ototoxic Medications” meaning they can cause hearing problems such as hearing loss. Common medications that are classified under this

list are ibuprofen, aspirin, loop diuretics and certain antibiotics.

This list is more extensive, therefore if you are taking medication on a long-term basis that you believe may be having adverse effects on your hearing, please seek medical attention.


Your genetics could make you more susceptible to hearing damage caused by age related hearing loss or loud noise exposure. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 40% of hearing loss in children is caused by genetic factors.

Ear Related Illnesses

Diseases can also be a factor in the cause of hearing loss.
Diseases such as Ménière's disease and Otosclerosis could be cause of hearing loss and balance problems. It is important that you seek medical attention should you suspect that you are suffering with any disease.

The Importance of getting your hearing checked

Many people ignore the early signs of hearing loss because they may feel it is not significant enough or not impacting their lifestyle enough to need to seek attention about it or they feel embarrassment to some degree about needing to wear hearing aids. It is crucial that if you are experiencing hearing loss of any kind, or, fall under any of the risk factors listed above, that you seek a hearing check-up.

Hearing loss can have serious long- term impacts on your health if left untreated.
Some of these impacts include:

  • Listening and Communication: Hearing loss inevitably causes problems with listening and communication with others, it can vary from not hearing or misunderstanding words in a conversation all the way to not being able to hear an alarm.
  • Mental Health, isolation and Loneliness: Hearing loss can have a direct impact on how you feel and your mental health. This is due to decreased participation in activities and having less of a social network due to your hearing ability. People with hearing loss commonly report a lower quality of life than those who don’t suffer with it.
  • Cognition: Hearing loss is the largest known potentially preventable factor in the development of dementia, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Hearing loss makes the brain work much harder to understand sound being transmitted around a person, which in turn leads to strain on the brain, which is said to be a contributing factor in the onset of dementia.

Hearing Tests

A simple and quick hearing test can help diagnose and treat hearing loss before it progresses.

A hearing test is a pain free, non-invasive test which is primarily used to see how well a person can hear different sounds and frequencies. There are several places that you may take a hearing test, including online.

Below you will find an online screening test provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), a test which can give you an indication of whether or not you need to seek further testing for your hearing.

We partnered with Diagnostic Audiology Services to test our patients on the Clinic for Well People. They are a hearing clinic that specializes in diagnostic hearing evaluations and hearing rehabilitation. To find one of their clinics and book and appointment, please visit their website at: diagnosticaudiology.ie

hearWHO Online Screening Test

hearWHO is an online hearing test developed by the World Health Organization to detect hearing loss. Early detection of hearing loss is crucial for effective treatment and helping to reduce long term damage. This application is recommended for people who are at higher risk of hearing loss, such of people who work in loud conditions, listen to loud music regularly or are over the age of 60. The test requires the use of headphones and is available as a download on iOS and Android devices.