Hearing loss is a common problem. Though it typically can’t be reversed, most of it can be successfully treated. In fact, about 36 million Americans have some type of hearing loss and more than half of those are under the age of 65. It can occur at birth or any age. It’s not all the same, and a hearing aid isn’t the solution for every hearing problem.
There are different degrees of loss from mild or moderate to severe and profound. Mild loss can become a bigger problem over time. Hearing loss can affect people on a social and emotional level. They may withdraw from social relationships, get frustrated or be embarrassed. It can even lead to anxiety and depression in more extreme cases. Though mild hearing loss is not always noticeable, it is critical that a board certified audiologist evaluate your degree of hearing loss and plan for treatment.
Aging is the most common reason for hearing loss. Approximately one in three people in the United State between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss. About half of people age 75 and older having hearing loss. Adaptation, such as turning up the volume on the television or asking family members to speak up, is one alternative. However, hearing aids are most often the solution. When hearing aids don’t work, depending on the specific problem, cochlear implants or other surgical procedures may be needed.
Noise is another big factor in hearing loss. Avoiding excessive noise and using protection such as ear plugs can help prevent or delay hearing loss.
The staff at Touma Hearing Centers can evaluate hearing loss from a physical and audiological standpoint to determine the cause and nature. A hearing evaluation includes multiple tests to measure how well a person hears. A basic hearing test is quite simple, painless and takes about 5 to 15 minutes in a soundproof booth.
Conductive Hearing Loss
This hearing loss involves a situation where sound waves do not effectively travel through the ear into the inner ear (cochlea). This can happen for a number of reasons including wax buildup, perforated eardrum, fluid/infection of the middle ear or problems with the bones of hearing in the middle ear. Often these patients are best treated with methods other than conventional hearing aids, such as medication or surgery, and usually require the assistance of an otologist (medical/surgical ear specialist) or an otolaryngologist.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
This is when sounds waves are transmitted normally to the inner ear (cochlea) but the inner ear is only able to process and transmit a portion of the signal to the brain. There may be a problem with the cochlea itself or the cochlear nerve. Numerous causes can account for the type of loss. These include aging of the inner ear, genetics, noise exposure, viral damage, toxic medications and tumors pressing on the cochlear nerve. The vast majority of these are treated with hearing aids. More severe cases can be treated with cochlear implant surgery. Other medical management might be needed depending on the degree or cause of loss. Most of this type of loss happens later in life.
Mixed hearing loss includes components of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. Treatment is quite variable here and is dictated by a number of factors the can be discussed with the audiologist and otologist.
Childhood Hearing Loss
What should you bring to your appointment?
We want to answer all your questions at your visit.
Please prepare for this by bringing:
- Health Insurance Card/Information
- A friend or family member to take notes/help with questions
- A list of all medications you are taking
- A list of your questions /concerns
- A copy of your XRAYS / CT scans (not just the reports -please get the actual films)
- Copies of records from doctors related to your ENT problems.
- Completed Forms
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