Nairobi Hospital Clinic, at Anderson Building, 5th Floor+254 (020) 272 0480 Mon - Sat: 07:00 - 17:00

Hearing Loss

What is the impact of the hearing loss?

Hearing loss is associated with:

  • Lower quality of life
  • Social isolation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Lower earning power
What are the causes of hearing loss?

Hearing loss can be divided into 3 categories:

  1. Conductive hearing loss
    1. Wax impaction
    2. Foreign body in the ear
    3. Glue ear
    4. Ruptured ear drum
    5. Outer ear infection
  2. Sensori-neural hearing loss
    1. Noise exposure
    2. Presbyacusis (hearing loss due to old age)
    3. Trauma or injury to the ear
    4. Tumor
    5. Medications toxic to the ear
    6. Auto-immune diseases e.g rheumatoid arthritis
    7. Infections
  3. Mixed hearing loss
    1. Combination of conductive and sensori-neural hearing loss
Can I be tested for hearing loss?

If you suspect you or a loved one has hearing loss, seek the advice of an ENT doctor or an audiologist. Hearing tests are quick, safe and simple. Evaluation of hearing loss starts with a comprehensive history. Thereafter a simple test called tuning fork tests that can be done in the office. The ENT will also look inside your ear to search for evidence of any blockage that may be causing hearing loss. A formal audiology hearing test is frequently requested. The tests are fast, safe and non-invasive. Radiology imaging or blood test may be required if need be.

What are the symptoms of hearing loss?

Most of the time hearing problems begin gradually without discomfort or pain. What’s more, family members often learn to adapt to someone’s hearing loss without even realizing they are doing it. Symptoms include:

  1. Trouble following conversations with more than two people
  2. Difficulty hearing what is said unless facing the speaker
  3. Struggling to hear in crowded places like restaurants, malls and meeting rooms
  4. Hard time hearing women or children
  5. Preferring the TV or radio volume louder than others
  6. Experiencing ringing or buzzing in my ears (tinnitus)
  7. Hearing like other people are mumbling or slurring their words

Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Elderly

The following self-administered questionnaire helps us gain more insight into the hearing loss of the elderly.

If I had hearing loss, wouldn’t my doctor have told me?

Very few doctors routinely screen for hearing loss. Since most people with hearing impairments hear just fine in quiet environments (like your doctor’s office), it can be very difficult for your physician to recognize this problem.

Doesn’t hearing loss only affect old people?

No. hearing loss can affect any one at any age. The majority of patients with hearing loss are actually below 65 years old.

How is hearing loss treated?

Hearing loss is treated based on several factors:

  • Type of hearing loss
  • Severity of hearing loss
  • Cause, if known
  • Your lifestyle
  • Your age and your communication needs
  • Your cosmetic preferences
  • Your budget

Some types of hearing loss, especially conductive types, can be medically or surgically corrected but others cannot. The most common treatment for sensorineural hearing loss is properly fitted hearing aids. Hearing aids are widely available in a range of styles, colors, sizes, technology levels and prices.

Cochlea implants are also an option for the select few.


The content on the Nairobi ENT website is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions.


  1. Phan, Nga T., et al. “Diagnosis and management of hearing loss in elderly patients.” Australian family physician 45.6 (2016): 366.

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