How important is your hearing? Can you imagine not being able to hear conversations with loved ones, your favourite music, or safety alarms? Let’s talk about hearing loss and why it’s so important to book a hearing test regularly.


Many people have some level of hearing loss without even realising it. Figures show that around 12 million people in the UK are affected by hearing loss. You might have assumed you aren’t one of them, but how sure are you? Have you found yourself asking people to repeat themselves fairly often? Maybe you need to turn up the volume on your TV more so than before. Hearing loss in its early stages often goes undetected, and while you may think it’s nothing, untreated hearing loss can potentially lead to a whole host of other problems.

Did you know that there are links between hearing loss and depression, dementia and self-isolation? When it’s hard to hear and follow conversations for an individual, especially in a busy location, it can sometimes be easier to decide not to go out. This can progress to avoiding talking to people on the phone, so before you know it, you start to feel increasingly isolated and down.

Many people avoid having a hearing test, because they fear being told they have hearing loss and dread the thought of being told they have to wear hearing aids for the rest of their life.

Research shows that hearing loss can increase your risk of developing dementia by up to 5 times. Treating your hearing loss is one of the easiest ways to avoid this debilitating condition. In fact, dementia can even be misdiagnosed when the real problem is actually hearing loss.


There are two main types of hearing loss, and some people have both:

  1. Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss and is caused by damage to the delicate nerves connecting the ear and brain and hair cells in the inner ear. This is most commonly caused by ageing, exposure to loud noises and can also be a side effect of taking specific medications. Symptoms include: difficulty hearing softer sounds and an overall reduction of quality in what you can hear. This is permanent, so hearing aids are needed to treat it.
  2. Conductive hearing loss is usually caused by an obstruction, infection or growth in the outer or middle ear. It could be caused something as simple as excess ear wax, or could be due to repeated ear infections, or a growth in the middle ear. Symptoms include: sounds becoming quieter or becoming more muffled, making it more difficult to hear at any pitch. This can be temporary or permanent, so can be treated with ear wax removal, or with prescribed ear drops or antibiotics for ear infections, if symptoms persist. In permanent cases, hearing aids will usually be recommended.


Now you know why having your hearing tested is so important, you may be wondering what a consultation involves. We have recently introduced services from Pinnacle Audiology in practice, and our in-house audiologist, Stuart Toulcher, has almost 20 years of experience in both the NHS and private sector.

We also have access to the revolutionary 3D Otoscan – an advanced piece of technology that allows us to undertake a non-invasive scan of your whole ear canal, including the inner ear, allowing us to create the perfect, custom fitted hearing aids for you.

Once the consultation is complete, we will talk you through your hearing test results and possible treatment options, and if it turns out you need hearing aids, you can rest assured that we use one of the best brands available on the market – Widex. Widex hearing aids are designed to be discreet, with superior technology that will amaze you.

If you have any concerns or questions about your hearing, contact the team at Bunker Opticians, Henley, to speak to our expert audiologist, or book a consultation directly with us online today.