I’ve always had issues with my ears since I was a child. I would get frequent ear infections as a child, then I got a reprieve as a young adult only for them to return in my late 30’s. What’s that all about? I would get a cold, get over that, then get awful ear pain (always in the right ear) followed by a mighty pop and blood and pus would leak out. Sorry if you’re eating whilst reading this! I’d then need antibiotics. It started happening very frequently, so much so that I got referred to ENT (Ear, nose and throat).
Eventually, I got my appointment. The ENT specialist said I had a short tube that was kinked, meaning I was more prone to infections and that I should have a low threshold for antibiotics. This made it easier when I did get an infection, because sometimes the GP quite rightly would take a swab and wait for the results before prescribing antibiotics. I stopped getting them quite so frequently.
My last ear infection was last winter, the trouble is it leaves you with prolonged hearing loss afterwards, like you’re underwater. I got so desperate I went private to have my ears microsuctioned, but when I got there, they said I had no wax, and it would just have to pass on it’s own. It was so frustrating! She also recommended I asked for grommits to be put in. It’s now winter again and I’m dreading the ear infection coming back.
If I have the same level of hearing loss afterwards again I’m going to ask to be referred back to ENT to discuss grommets. I would consider going to a London hearing clinic like the Harley Street ENT Clinic after waiting so long with problems like last time. Having grommets is putting small tubes in basically, to help fluid drain properly, which isn’t happening in my ears. It’s more common in children, but I would be happy to have them!
I also work with the elderly and a lot of them have hearing problems. The majority have hearing aids but they are reluctant to wear them – I don’t know why, that’s the first thing I will do when and if my hearing goes. Hearing aids are so discreet, comfortable and easy to wear now. My Granny was profoundly deaf without her hearing aids in and she was as strong as an ox and could do anything. She would travel, lived in London by herself and was a great inspiration to me.
So to answer the question in the title, yes some hearing loss can happen as we get older, and it’s important to first establish the cause. A lot of initial hearing loss can be from wax buildup or infection, so a doctor will first look at investigating those two issues, then once those are excluded, you will be referred to Audiology for hearing tests. Then if you need a hearing aid you can be fitted for them. Hearing loss may be common as you get older, but you don’t just have to live with it.
Disclosure: collaborative post