The world is, by and large, such a noisy place that relative calm and silence – which are important for our general wellbeing – have become rare treats to be relished.
But as we get older, the world may become uncomfortably quieter if certain important sounds are more difficult to hear – for instance, the telephone ringing, a grandchild crying or the best moments of a favourite symphony.
Even minor degrees of hearing loss can cause intense frustration –when you have to strain to hear what other people are saying, miss crucial spoken information such as station announcements, or feel left out in social situations because you can’t follow conversations if there’s a lot of background noise.
Yet, even if a certain amount of hearing loss is inevitable as we grow older – and it’s by no means certain that it is – there is much that can be done to protect this vital sense and there are many causes of hearing loss that can be treated.
In this section you will learn all about your ears and the remarkable process of hearing.
You will find out why balance disorders may result from ear problems and about other symptoms, such as tinnitus (a persistent, irritating sound in the ears), which can accompany them.
Because you’re concerned enough about your senses to be reading this, you will no doubt want to take steps to preserve your hearing and your enjoyment of the sounds of life – for life.