7 million people in the UK who have either a hearing loss or are hard of hearing.7 million around 2 million people use a hearing aid. (www.rnid.org.uk).
Hearing loss can occur at any stage throughout life and may be present from birth. As with the other senses hearing deteriorates with age and therefore some degree of hearing loss occurs during later life.
There are two forms of hearing loss, these are conductive and sensiorneural. Conductive hearing loss occurs between the outer and middle ear and leads to a loss of loudness. This can be overcome through medical and surgical means. For example a build up of wax may cause an individual to have difficulty in hearing. This would be overcome by the use of eardrops or syringing. .
The other form of hearing loss is sensorineural. This occurs when there is damage to the cochlea in the inner ear. This can also lead to a loss of loudness as well as a distortion of sound. Therefore the individual, even if the are close to the source of the sound, will have difficulty in understanding the sound. This form of hearing loss cannot be cured in medical or surgical means and therefore a hearing aid or cochlea implant is required. (Cowan D).
For many people hearing aids are the only form of aid that they may benefit from, particularly those who suffer from sensorineural hearing loss. In the UK hearing aids are available free from the NHS or from private hearing aid dispensers, however this method can be costly. If a person feels that they may benefit from a hearing aid they must seek advice from their GP. If the GP feels that they do need a hearing aid the individual will be referred to the audiology department at their nearest hospital. After a number of examinations and hearing tests the consultant will decide if the individual does require a hearing aid or if they will benefit from another form of treatment. If the individual is to have a hearing aid they will be asked to make an appointment to have a mould taken.