Understanding Hearing & Hearing Loss

Your hearing serves many purposes such as keeping you safe, locating where sound is coming from, and helping you follow conversations.

Your brain takes in a wide variety of cues from your ears, and automatically and effortlessly identifies the sounds and locates where they are coming from.

Imagine you are about to step into traffic. It’s the ability of the brain to utilise information from the auditory system concerning the direction and distance of sounds that lets you know whether or not it is safe to proceed. Therefore, it is crucial that you can hear all the sounds around you from both ears to understand where a sound is coming from. In noisy environments both ears work together to improve speech understanding by proving access to the important details in the listening environment. The more detailed the information your brain receives the easier it is to identify and follow what is being said.

Hearing loss can occur for many different reasons. The most common contributing factor is ageing. It’s inevitable that as we get older the body’s physiological and neurological processes become less effective. Age-related hearing loss is referred to as ‘presbycusis’ and is by far the most common underlying type of hearing loss. It usually takes many years for changes in auditory function to become apparent and is often first noticed when speech or conversation becomes difficult to hear, especially when background noise is an issue. The good news is that the management of this type of hearing loss is usually straightforward, with excellent outcomes for patients.

The are many other reasons why hearing loss might occur. These include: infections and viruses, noise trauma, genetic or congenital factors, ototoxic medications, autoimmune disease, outer or inner ear disease, head injuries and acoustic neuroma (very rare).

Getting through the day with hearing loss can be hard work. Everyday situations require more effort in order to follow and understand what is being said. When you have a hearing loss, your ears lose their ability to pick up certain sounds. Your brain has to work much harder to ‘fill in the gaps’ and guess what is being said.

Both tasks require more mental resources and can leave you feeling exhausted. Using more mental resources to hear leaves you with fewer resources to perform other important brain functions such as remembering what was actually said. So even if you manage to follow the conversation you may struggle recalling what has been said. To reduce cognitive strain, it is important that you hear all speakers clearly, especially in noisy environments.

There are many options available to treat hearing loss. The appropriate solution will depend on the underlying cause of the hearing loss. In most instances, where age is a factor, fitting hearing aids is likely to be of benefit, with an instant and appreciable improvement in an individual’s ability to clearly hear speech across a range of listening environments. More complex otological conditions may require further investigation, or referral to a specialist such as ENT consultant or Otologist whom might consider other medical or surgical interventions. Our audiologist will be able to advise if any further referrals or investigations are necessary.

Presbycusis, or the natural degeneration in hearing ability, relating to the ageing process, is connected to a reduction in cochlea function. The cochlea acts to convert signals entering the inner ear to electrical impulses, a process called transduction. These electrical signals travel via the auditory nerve to the part of the brain concerned with receiving and interpreting these signals – the auditory cortex. Hair cells within the cochlea become less efficient and fatigue as we get older, resulting in reduced auditory processing and stimulation, which ultimately manifests as hearing loss. This is a slow and gradual process. Consequently, we often don’t become aware of any hearing difficulties until later in life or perhaps until it’s noticed by friends or family.

A full range of assistive devices are available that not only help you to hear better but also seamlessly integrate with the latest hearing aid technologies, allowing you to maximise the features and benefits of these devices. Depending on your lifestyle and specific hearing requirements there is an assistive device available to enrich your listening experience.

If you have any queries at all about our hearing care services or would like to arrange a Hearing Assessment, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01765 278 744 or fill in the contact form on this page.

Our Services

Hearing Assessments

A hearing assessment will test how well you recognise sounds across different frequencies & intensities.

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Tinnitus Management

We are specialists in tinnitus and can help you select the most appropriate therapy option for effective relief.

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Ear Wax Removal

Microsuction is the method preferred by medical staff and patients alike for guaranteed effective removal of wax.

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Hearing Aids

Today, more than ever, the best solution for many individuals with hearing loss is hearing aids. Like all high-tech devices, hearing aids have improved significantly over the past serval years in both performance and appearance. Today’s hearing aids sound better, fit more comfortably and perform more reliably than even before.

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Our Promise

Hear & Now aims to exceed your expectations in everything we do. As an independent, family-run hearing care business, our aim is to provide a personalised, one-to-one customer service experience that isn’t available elsewhere on the high street.

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Why Choose Us?

Exemplary service. A very clear and detailed explanation of the options for new hearing aids. Much time was spent in equipping me with what was most appropriate for me. Nothing is too much trouble – great care and attention paid at every stage.
Peter Burton
I recently attended Hear and Now, Ripon for microsuction treatment. What an excellent service on every level. Professional, courteous and thorough.. I have no hesitation in recommending them and I will certainly be using them again in the future.
E Scott

Took my 99 year old mum for ear wax removal. We had a fantastic experience with all the lovely staff who definitely know their stuff! She left with much better hearing and a massive smile. She got straight back into her talking books once she returned home. Thank you so much.

Joanna Mortimer

I would like to thank everyone at ‘Hear & Now’ for the outstanding level of service provided to my husband. Every query was dealt with efficiently, patiently and in a professional manner. Their level of customer care is excellent and we would highly recommend them to others seeking assistance with hearing loss.

M. Simpson