Discover the importance of managing hearing loss early.
What Is Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss is the inability to hear sound clearly in either one or both ears. Approximately 48 million Americans have hearing loss to some degree, and many people wait an average of seven years before seeking treatment. If you have noticed you aren’t hearing as well as you use to, it’s time for a hearing assessment.
Hearing ability is deeply connected to overall health and well-being. When you can’t hear due to untreated hearing loss, you can experience a decline in your speech comprehension, memory, energy levels, and cognitive abilities.
How to Recognize the Signs
Hearing loss can be difficult to recognize as most cases occur gradually. If you have noticed any combination of the following signs of hearing loss, it’s time for a hearing test.
Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is measured in a range: mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe or profound. In addition to these degrees, there are also different types of hearing loss.
Sensorineural is the most common type of hearing loss. This occurs when there is a problem with the sensory receptors of the hearing system within the auditory nerve. Causes include age, genetics, repeated loud noise exposure, ototoxic medications, or underlying health issues. While this type of hearing loss is irreversible, wearing hearing aids are a great management option.
Conductive is when there is a problem conducting sound from the outer and middle ear to the inner ear. This is usually due to a blockage but can also be caused by ear infection, fluid in the middle ear, ruptured eardrum, or earwax impaction. This type of hearing loss will need to be treated by a medical professional.
Mixed is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
Tinnitus is when you hear phantom sounds in your head or ears when no external sounds are present. Many people describe tinnitus as hearing a buzzing, humming, ringing, or whistling sound. Tinnitus is not the same as hearing loss. In fact, many people who have “normal” hearing experience tinnitus.
Tinnitus can range from mildly annoying to debilitating. For some people, their symptoms of tinnitus are so severe that it affects their concentration, sleep, and quality of life. If tinnitus is bothering you, there are management options that can help you experience relief.
At our hearing center, we offer special tinnitus masking hearing aids which can play soothing sounds in your ears. While hearing aids won’t stop ringing in the ears completely, they can reduce your symptoms.