Sarah Bauermeister

Associate Professor, Oxford University

Sarah Bauermeister is a cognitive neuropsychologist and epidemiologist. She manages scientific research for Dementias Platform UK and is Principal Investigator for ‘Blossom Early Adversity & Brain Health Programme’ and ‘Modify: Modifying Dementia Risk Through Lifestyle Programme’. She has a keen interest in raising awareness around the link between dementia, hearing loss and hearing aid use. She is passionate about removing the stigma of hearing tests and wearing hearing aids.

Ruchi Sharma

Audiologist
Ruchi

Ruchi Sharma is an experienced hearing audiologist helping individuals improve, fine tune and rehabilitate their hearing needs. Her patients' needs are always a priority where she focuses on improving their overall lifestyle and quality of life. A typical day can be working in care homes, doing home visits, working in hearing clinics and even visiting hearing aid patients in opticians! She has two beautiful children and loves to travel, yoga, and spend time with family outdoors.

Frazer Paterson

Director & Clinical Audiologist (bsc, pgdip, hcpc, mshaa)

Frazer, a degree trained audiologist has extensive and varied experience in the world of Audiology. With two spells in the NHS he was held to the highest clinical standards in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss. His experience working for one of the world’s leading hearing aid manufacturers has exposed him to the latest hearing aid technology and how to maximise its potential. Frazer is passionate that hearing loss should not be a barrier to employment, limit a person’s ability to communicate with friends and family or curtail any aspect of their life.

Adam Bostock

Founder, Alto Hearing and Tinnitus Specialists

Adam Bostock founded ‘Alto Hearing and Tinnitus Specialists’ following a career in the audiology sector which began in 2005. He has extensive experience working in NHS ENT clinics, alongside both adult and paediatric audiology. Most recently Adam was ‘Head of Commerical’ at Boots HearingCare. He worked as a regional manager and director of sales, leading a large team of audiologists and hearing care assistants. 

Michelle Hu

Paediatric Audiologist

Dr. Michelle Hu is a paediatric audiologist. She was diagnosed with mild hearing loss as a toddler and by the age of 10 had profound sensorineural hearing loss bilaterally and was fitted with hearing aids. Alongside her day job as a paediatric audiologist, she provides online courses that provide support and guidance for parents of children with hearing loss. She loves being with her family, experimenting in the kitchen, gardening and exploring new places.

Carly Sygrove

Hearing Loss Coach

Carly Sygrove is a Hearing Loss Coach and a hearing health advocate who has single-sided deafness. She blogs about living with hearing loss at My Hearing Loss Story and manages the My Hearing Loss Story online support group for people with hearing loss. She is also the founder of the Sudden Hearing Loss Support website, a source of information and support for people affected by sudden hearing loss.   

Iain n Edgar

Director & Clinical Audiologist (ba pgdip hcpc mshaa rccp)

Iain studied for his postgraduate diploma in Audiology at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. He has 8 years of experience as an NHS audiologist. For the past 5 years, alongside ENT and Hearing Aid clinics, he has taken tinnitus clinics and been involved in the Scottish Tinnitus Advisory Group. In addition to his NHS work, Iain has recently opened a private clinic in his local community of Clarkston, where he is eager to make a small but meaningful difference in improving people’s quality of life.

Mr Joseph Manjaly

Consultant Otologist, Hearing Implant & ENT Surgeon

Joseph Manjaly is a Consultant Otologist, Auditory Implant & ENT Surgeon, specialising in ear and hearing problems for adults and children. He is fellowship-trained in otology and auditory implant surgery and takes pride in effectively treating patients with hearing loss, ear discharge, discomfort, tinnitus and dizziness. He has a busy NHS practice at the renowned Royal National ENT Hospital in Central London, part of University College Hospitals NHS Trust.

Peter Lucas-Herald

Clinical Audiologist (msc bsc (hons) rccp hcpc)

Peter has a strong academic background, first graduating with a biology degree from Edinburgh University before moving on to study audiology at Queen Margaret University. He then completed a master’s degree in audiology, researching vestibular testing methodology.

Peter has been working as a clinical audiologist within the NHS, taking a particular interest in vestibular assessment and reassessment. Balance problems can be incredibly debilitating and Peter has a passion to work with these clients to regain their confidence and help them return to a normal life.

Miriam Warcup

Co Founder (BA MSc MSc)
Pink

Miriam undertook a Master's at Kings College London in 2020 in 'Gerontology and Ageing'. It was here that she specialised in 'Dementia Prevention' for her thesis, where she learnt of the little known fact, that untreated hearing loss is the biggest risk factor for dementia that we can do something about. Miriam's thesis was later published in the journal of 'Working with Older People'.

Since then, she has been on a mission to help spread the word and to empower individuals to reduce this risk factor by taking simple steps to prioritise their hearing, not only for the benefit of their brain health, but for their physical and mental health too. 

Her background is economics and business, but her passion has always been to help others. She's long had a keen interest in helping to reduce the monumental global impacts of dementia. 

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2 min read

What causes hearing loss?

Hearing loss can stem from problems with different parts of the auditory system, from damage to the tiny hair cells in the inner ear, to issues with the middle and outer ear, or due to conditions that affect the brain.

Hearing loss can occur at any age, for a small minority it happens at birth, whilst for the large majority it occurs in the later years. Everyone experiences a decline in hearing ability as they age as once the hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, they can’t be regenerated. Whilst some causes of hearing loss are out of our control, there are others where we can intervene.

Some of the most common causes of hearing loss are explained below.

Ruchi
Ruchi Sharma
Audiologist
Image from rawpixel id 1208635 jpeg
Ageing

Age related hearing loss

is known as presbycusis. Most people begin to lose some hearing from the age of 40 and by the age of 80 more significant hearing loss can often be present. The reasons for age related hearing loss are multi-faceted. Often, however, it is hard “to distinguish age-related hearing loss from hearing loss that can occur for other reasons, such as long-term exposure to noise” (NIDCD). 

Headphones

Noise induced hearing loss

is the number one cause of hearing loss. It can be caused by a one-off exposure to very loud sounds like a gunshot (between 140-165 decibels) or alternatively exposure to loud sounds for extended periods of time (over 70 decibels) like heavy road traffic or listening to music too loud on your headphones. The good news is, this type of hearing loss is completely preventable. See ‘how loud is too loud’ for tips on how and when it can be prevented.

Excercise

Cardiovascular risk factors

The inner ear is just like other parts of the body. It needs blood supply to get oxygen and other nutrients to stay alive. The inner ear has a network of fine blood vessels that can be damaged in the same way blood vessels that feed the brain and heart can be. Injured blood vessels in the inner ear can lead to hearing loss. Cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are therefore potential causes of hearing loss too.

Brain damage

Head / Ear injuries

Head trauma or ear injuries can cause damage to the auditory system, either due to the ear being damaged or due to changes in the auditory pathway to the brain.

Genes

Genetic factors

According to the CDC, over half of hearing loss in babies is due to genetic causes and can be caused by dominant or recessive genes. Genetic factors, however, can influence anyone’s likelihood of developing hearing loss as they age. For example, men are more likely to have hearing loss than women and people with darker skin have been found to be less likely to develop hearing loss. Many other genetic factors exist that might influence a person’s vulnerability to hearing loss.

Ear wax v2

Impacted ear wax

Earwax is often a sign of a healthy functioning ear, but for some, ear wax can build-up and cause a blockage in the ear canal that prevents sound transmission leading to temporary hearing loss. If you suspect this is the case, step away from the cotton buds as they can push the wax deeper into the ear and can cause damage to your ear canal. Instead, seek advice from an audiologist to help remove the wax through syringing or microsuction.

Medicnes

Ototoxic medicines

These medicines have been known to cause hearing loss, tinnitus or balance problems. According to RNID there are over 100 prescription and over the counter drugs that can cause hearing loss. The dose required to cause hearing loss, however, often needs to be very high to cause significant damage. Aminoglycoside antibiotics and platinum-based chemotherapy drugs are two of the more common ototoxic medicines that can cause hearing loss.

See Ear conditions for a more extensive list of other conditions that can lead to hearing loss.

Ruchi
Written by

Ruchi Sharma

Audiologist

Ruchi Sharma is an experienced hearing audiologist helping individuals improve, fine tune and rehabilitate their hearing needs. Her patients' needs are always a priority where she focuses on improving their overall lifestyle and quality of life. A typical day can be working in care homes, doing home visits, working in hearing clinics and even visiting hearing aid patients in opticians! She has two beautiful children and loves to travel, yoga, and spend time with family outdoors.

Learn more about Ruchi
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