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Hearing Loss

If you think you may have hearing loss, the best place to start is with a hearing test.

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Hearing loss is a common condition affecting people of all ages and resulting from various factors. Here’s an overview of hearing loss:

1. Types of Hearing Loss:
Conductive Hearing Loss: This type of hearing loss occurs when sound waves cannot reach the inner ear due to problems in the outer or middle ear, such as earwax buildup, ear infections, or fluid in the middle ear.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss: This type of hearing loss results from damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve. It is often caused by aging, exposure to loud noise, genetics, certain medications, or illnesses.
Mixed Hearing Loss: This is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, in which problems may occur in both the outer/middle ear and the inner ear.

2. Symptoms:
– Difficulty understanding speech, especially in noisy environments.
– Needing to turn up the volume on the television or radio.
– Frequently asking others to repeat themselves.
– Struggling to hear consonants. Ringing or buzzing sensation in the ears (tinnitus).

3. Diagnosis:
– Hearing loss is typically diagnosed through a comprehensive hearing evaluation performed by a hearing professional. This evaluation will likely include pure-tone audiometry, speech audiometry, tympanometry, and other tests to determine the type, degree, and configuration of hearing loss.

4. Treatment:
Hearing Aids: For many people with hearing loss, hearing aids can significantly improve their ability to hear and communicate by amplifying sounds.
Cochlear Implants: This option is suitable for individuals with severe to profound hearing loss who do not benefit from hearing aids. Cochlear implants bypass damaged parts of the inner ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve.
Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs): These devices, such as FM systems or captioned telephones, can help individuals with hearing loss better understand speech in specific situations.
Medication or Surgery: In some cases, medical or surgical interventions may be necessary to treat underlying causes of hearing loss, such as ear infections or otosclerosis.

5. Prevention:
– Protect your ears from loud noises by using earplugs or earmuffs.
– Limit exposure to loud sounds, especially for extended periods.
– Avoid inserting objects into the ear canal to clean earwax, as this can push wax deeper and potentially cause damage.
– Maintain good ear hygiene and seek prompt treatment for ear infections or other ear-related conditions.

If you suspect you have hearing loss, it’s essential to seek evaluation and treatment from a qualified healthcare professional, such as an audiologist or otolaryngologist. Early detection and intervention can help manage hearing loss effectively and improve quality of life.

Degree of Hearing Loss

Degrees of Hearing Loss

No two hearing impairments are the same. As you receive your hearing test results, your hearing professional will help you understand the degree and type of hearing loss. Below are threshold ranges depending on the degree of loss. Most problems are presbycusis by nature and often fall off first in the high frequencies as illustrated below:

  • Normal hearing ranges from -10dB to 20 dB.
  • Mild loss ranges from 21 dB to 40 dB.
  • Moderate loss ranges from 41 dB to 70 dB.
  • Severe loss ranges from 71 dB to 90 dB.
  • Profound loss ranges from 91 dB to 120 dB.

Check out our video on A Hearing Test Is Easy.

A Visual Guide To How We Hear

A little-known fact: Your brain actually does the hearing, while your ear is simply the mechanism by which sound is converted to nerve impulses that your brain then translates into sounds or words. Any sound impulse in your right ear is sent to the left side of your brain, while any sound impulse in your left ear is sent to the right side of your brain. This function is essential in helping us enjoy a better quality of life.

This visual guide to how the ear works will help you better understand hearing loss. We believe the more you’re educated, the better we can help you find a solution so that you enjoy a better life!