HEARING LOSS BASICS
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Decide on Your Priorities
Hearing aids are as unique as the people who wear them, so choosing the perfect fit means that you need to take some time to decide on your priorities. With your loved one, talk about where you have the most difficulty hearing. Is it at the office or in a board meeting? Is it when you’re out for drinks with friends or in the backyard with the grandkids? Determine where you need the most help hearing, and this will help you pick the best programs and features for you.
Symptoms & Diagnostics
- Ask people to repeat what they say
- Have trouble following the conversation in groups
- Think others are mumbling
- Frequently turn up the volume on the TV or car radio
- Have difficulty on the phone
- Oversleep because you didn’t hear your alarm clock
- Have difficulty hearing or understanding speech at the movies
- Avoid going to noisy parties and restaurants
Hearing loss is diagnosed based on the person’s history, behavior, and the results of an audiological examination. If you are told that nothing can be done about your hearing loss, you should seek a second opinion.
What should I do if I think I have a hearing loss?
See an audiologist for a complete hearing test. You should consult an ear, nose throat specialist (ENT or otolaryngologist) if you are experiencing any of the following:
- History of pain, active drainage, or bleeding from an ear.
- Sudden onset or rapidly progressive hearing loss.
- Acute, chronic, or recurrent episodes of dizziness.
- Visualization of blood, pus, cerumen plug, foreign body, or other material in the ear canal.
- Unilateral or asymmetric hearing loss.
CDC National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities site for information about hearing loss in children. Includes free brochures, posters, fact sheets, and more for parents, health care providers, and public health professionals.
Also see “Do You Need a Hearing Test?”, a questionnaire (for adults 18 – 64) by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Types, causes and treatments.
Hearing loss is the partial loss of the ability to hear. This loss can range from mild to profound and can cause the person to be unable to hear part of the speech signal, rendering it unintelligible and making communication difficult.
Causes of Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss (CHL) occurs when there is a problem transferring sound waves anywhere along the pathway through the outer ear, tympanic membrane (eardrum), or middle ear (ossicles).
- Malformation of outer ear, ear canal, or middle ear structure
- Fluid in the middle ear from colds
- Ear infection (otitis media – an infection of the middle ear in which an accumulation of fluid may interfere with the movement of the eardrum and ossicles)
- Poor Eustachian tube function
- Perforated eardrum
- Benign tumors
- Impacted earwax
- Infection in the ear canal
- Foreign object in the ear
- Otosclerosis (a hereditary disorder in which a bony growth forms around a small bone in the middle ear, preventing it from vibrating when stimulated by sound; read more at NIDCD
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is due to problems of the inner ear, also known as nerve-related hearing loss.
Causes of Sensorineural Hearing Loss
- Exposure to loud noise (preventable but not reversible – see more about prevention)
- Aging (presbycusis)
- Head trauma
- Virus or disease
- Autoimmune inner ear disease
- Malformation of the inner ear
- Ménière’s disease
Mixed Hearing Loss
Mixed hearing loss is caused by a combination of conductive damage in the outer or middle ear and sensorineural damage in the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve.
Treatments for Mixed Hearing Loss
Audiologists recommend taking care of the conductive component first. There have been times when the addition of the conductive component made the person a better hearing aid candidate, by flattening out the audiogram for example, while the underlying sensorineural component presented a high-frequency loss. However, the emphasis would still be on treating medically what can be treated. Generally, you would expect positive results.
Short-term goals expect accomplishment in a short period of time, such as trying to get a bill paid in the next few days.
An organizational goal-management solution ensures that individual employee goals and objectives align with the vision and strategic goals of the entire organization.
Conditions that affect your ability to hear can impact your quality of life. Whether you have a central auditory processing disorder, tinnitus, hearing loss, or another hearing condition, the auditory experts at the University of Miami Health System have the knowledge and skills to accurately diagnose and effectively treat your condition.
SFENTA™ is proud to feature Weston, Aventura, Hollywood, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Miami and South Florida ENT specialists that are both extensively trained and highly respected in their field. With a reputation for delivering the highest level of care for virtually every ear, nose and throat condition, our services include the advanced diagnostics, cutting-edge medical treatments and minimally-invasive surgeries our South Florida patients need to relieve their symptoms and restore their health