Select your location for up-to-date news and information in your local area My Area

Hearing problems: Just the facts

The term hearing loss or impairment doesn’t just apply to those who have completely lost their hearing; it actually refers to all types of hearing loss, from mild to severe. This includes short term hearing loss which can be caused by problems such as ear infections or being exposed to very loud noises.

If you notice changes in your hearing, you should speak to a GP. They will ask about your symptoms and might look inside your ears using a small handheld torch. If needed, they can refer you to a specialist for more tests.

It’s not always easy to tell if you’re experiencing hearing problems, some signs might include:

  • Talking loudly
  • Mishearing words
  • Not hearing what’s going on if there’s background noise
  • Wanting the volume of the TV higher than your friends or other members of your family

Causes of hearing problems

If you are experiencing hearing problems, it doesn’t always mean that they will last forever. Short term hearing problems can have many causes, including:

  • The build-up of fluid or earwax in the ear
  • An ear infection
  • Hearing a very loud noise (sometimes this might cause a ringing in one or both ears, known as tinnitus)
  • A burst eardrum (this is also called a perforated eardrum)

It’s not always possible to understand the cause of hearing loss, so you should speak to your GP to get an assessment. Sometimes, hearing problems can last longer or affect people for the remainder of their lives. There are treatments available for longer term problems, such as hearing aids and implants, which are available on the NHS.

If you are feeling frustrated or emotionally affected by your hearing problem, speak to a GP or your school nurse for emotional support.

If you are diagnosed with a hearing problem, you might need additional support at school too.

Reducing the risks of hearing loss

You can help to reduce the risk of hearing loss by:

  • Not listening to music too loudly (you can buy noise cancelling earphones that block out the outside noise; this should reduce the need to turn the volume up too loud)
  • Wearing ear protection if you play an instrument, attend live music events or places with high noise levels
  • Not inserting objects into your ears, such as cotton buds, tissues or your fingers. This can damage your eardrum

How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively, you can always contact your school nurse.

Cross Hatch

Find help in your local area

Find help in your local area

Find out what services are available to you in your area. Remember your school nurse is always there to give you confidential help and support.

Find help in your local area