Smiling woman sitting on a couch surrounded by husband and two happy kids, reading on a tablet

All about hearing loss

Hearing loss is noticeable when sounds become muffled, making it difficult to understand conversations or hear birds chirping. One in five people suffers from some form of hearing loss worldwide. And for those over the age of 65, this figure increases to one in three.

What causes hearing loss?

Hearing loss is normally due to damaged hair cells in the cochlea. As we grow older, hair cells lose some of their function, and hearing deteriorates. In other cases, hearing loss can arise from brain damage, genetic disposition, or prolonged exposure to excessively loud noise.

What kinds of hearing loss are there?

There are three types of hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the inner ear, or the auditory nerve is damaged. It is the most common type of hearing loss and is, in a majority of cases, permanent.

Conductive hearing loss arises when sounds are unable to pass from the outer ear to the inner ear, which can be caused by a blockage such as earwax or damage to the eardrum or ossicular bones. It is in many cases temporary and can be treated medically.

Mixed hearing loss is when both sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss occur in the same ear. Treatment for the conductive component can help alleviate the degree of the hearing loss but the underlying sensorineural hearing loss will remain.

Illustration of sound wave

Have you ever wondered what hearing loss sounds like?

Maybe you know someone in your family or in your surroundings who has difficulties with their hearing. The following sound samples simulate one of the most common types of hearing loss: high-frequency hearing loss. High-pitched sounds are harder to hear. Here you can try it out yourself.

Start simulation

What are the signs and symptoms of hearing loss?

Because most cases of hearing loss develop gradually, the symptoms are often difficult to self-diagnose. Some signs pointing to hearing loss include:

  • Difficulty understanding others, especially in crowds or other background noise
  • Frequently asking others to speak up or to repeat themselves
  • Regularly turning up the volume of the television or radio
  • Habitually withdrawing from conversations or avoiding other social settings

What kind of problems can hearing loss cause?

Because hearing loss makes communication with others difficult, some people experience feelings of loneliness or isolation. Hearing loss is also associated with cognitive decline. The earlier it is addressed and treated, the better.

Woman sitting with headphones taking the Bernafon online hearing test on a tablet

Do you think you have hearing loss?

Take our online hearing screen now.

Take the hearing screen

How can Bernafon hearing aids help you?

Watch stories of people who changed their lives with Bernafon hearing aids.

Bernafon hearing aid user Dietmar in his metal workshop speaking to a client

"For me, perception is the deciding factor"

Dietmar L., independent craftsman

Meet Dietmar

Bernafon hearing aid user and pilot John walking away from his small airplane after a flight with his co-pilot

"There's a lot to concentrate on"

John G., pilot

Meet John

Man who wears Bernafon hearing aids and works as a radio announcer sitting at a radio station desk working together with a woman

"Everything sounds so clear"

Alan R., town councilor

Meet Alan

What the path to better hearing looks like

  • Illustration of headphones with a question mark in the middle showing ability of taking online hearing test

    1. Get your hearing tested

    Start by checking your hearing with our quick online hearing screening.

  • Illustration of a hearing center

    2. Visit a hearing center

    Our Bernafon providers will test your hearing and discuss your options.

  • Illustration of a behind the ear hearing aid

    3. Choose your hearing aid

    Explore different hearing aid performances and discover the one that meets your expectations.