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Hearing loss is the third most common physical condition in aging people. There is nothing more frustrating than struggling to hear someone speak in a noisy environment.


There are many conditions that affect the functioning of the ear. Different conditions affect different parts of the ear. Depending on the location of the abnormality in the ear, specific types of hearing loss can be identified. The different disorders of the ear can be grouped into three different types of hearing loss: sensorineural (SNHL), conductive hearing loss and mixed hearing loss.

• A sensorineural hearing loss means there is a disorder in the inner ear. Sensorineural hearing loss is a cause of deafness located in the cochlea due to damage to the inner ear or auditory nerve. The disorder limits sound traveling from the inner ear to the hearing nerve and brain. A sensorineural hearing loss is mostly permanent and requires the use of hearing devices like hearing aids or a cochlear implant. A conductive hearing loss is a disorder in the outer and/or middle ear. The disorder limits or prevents sound from travelling through the outer and middle ear.

• A conductive hearing loss might be temporary or fluctuating and, in many cases, can be treated through medication or surgery. Sometimes, hearing devices like hearing aids are recommended for conductive hearing loss.

• A mixed hearing loss is when there is a disorder in the outer and/or middle ear as well as in the inner ear. Sometimes a combination of factors (abnormalities) is presented which affects both the outer or middle and the inner ear, resulting in a mixed hearing loss. The treatment might therefore be a combination of medical or surgical treatment and the use of hearing aids.

The consequences of hearing loss differ from person to person. Most people with a hearing impairment can suffer from some social (e.g. isolation), psychological (e.g. depression and low self-esteem) and physical (e.g. loss in balance and risk of falling) problems as a result of their hearing loss. It is especially untreated hearing loss that can cause problems such as dementia, anxiety and depression.


As with most medical diagnosis, the earlier a hearing loss is identified and corrected, the more effective the results of the treatment will be. This is where the Ear Institute can help. Most people with hearing loss can benefit by wearing hearing aids.

The Ear Institute understands that those who suffer from hearing loss need one defining function from a hearing device: clear, rich sound. Hearing well in various situations is important, such as restaurants, family time and driving in your car. You need hearing aids that can keep up with your lifestyle.

The Ear Institute offers an assortment of discreet, comfortable hearing aids to suit every person’s needs and lifestyle. The new Marvel multifunctional hearing aid from Phonak, which has taken the world by storm, combines modern technology with clear, rich sound in various listening situations.

With the holiday season almost upon us, we all look forward to a time of togetherness at family gatherings. Enjoy the magic this holiday season by listening to festive music playing over the radio and participating in conversations with your family and friends without feeling left out or isolated.

The friendly colleagues at the Ear Institute will give you their personal attention, providing comfort and the best advice. They also offer annual services and maintenance on your hearing aids with a same-day return service, so that you do not need to be without your devices for a long period. Don’t hesitate to contact any of the 24 Ear Institute branches in South Africa and Namibia on 0861-10-20-30 or visit www.earinstitute.co.za •