We help our patients understand their hearing loss and manage it with hearing aids.
What is Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss is when your ability to hear is reduced due to damage to the middle/inner ear, age, infections, or another health condition. Hearing loss affects over 48 million Americans, and over 38 million go untreated. Hearing requires the inner ear and brain to function properly in order to correctly interpret the sounds you hear. Hearing loss can prevent crucial pieces of information from reaching the brain, leading to confusion and an inability to understand what is being said. The longer hearing loss is left untreated then there is a greater chance of your cognitive processing declining.
At Associated Hearing, we offer diagnostic hearing tests to determine the type and degree of your hearing loss. It’s important to treat hearing loss at the first signs rather than waiting in order to prevent cognitive decline or from losing your speech comprehension. Our professionals can effectively and efficiently diagnose your hearing loss and set you up with a treatment plan to improve your hearing.
Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be broken up into three main categories: sensorineural, conductive, and mixed. These are the most common types of hearing loss, affecting the most people.
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss and is typically the result of damage to the hair cells in the inner ear (the cochlea). When these hair cells – or nerves – are damaged or destroyed by repeated exposure to loud noise, hearing becomes difficult. Because hearing damage usually affects the highest frequencies first, loud-noise exposure can result in permanent high-frequency hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss is typically the result of an infection or blockage in the outer or middle ear. Middle ear infections can sometimes cause difficulty hearing due to a fluid build-up. Swimmer’s ear or a build-up of earwax may create a blockage outside the eardrum. This type of hearing loss is typically reversible once the infection or blockage clears, or can be corrected with surgery.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. Hearing may improve after the conductive portion of the hearing loss is resolved through treatment or surgery, but the sensorineural portion is usually permanent.
Regardless of the type of hearing loss you may have, it is important to visit us at Associated Hearing so we can thoroughly diagnose your hearing loss and create a management plan. Our team wants to help you experience an improved quality of life through better hearing, so call us today to make your appointment.
Signs of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss often occurs gradually, over a long period of time. It can be difficult to recognize the signs of hearing loss, especially if you have been missing certain sounds for some time. It’s important to make an appointment with one of our professionals at the first signs of hearing loss in order to prevent losing any speech comprehension or from cognitive decline. Some of the most common signs of hearing loss include:
- You often ask people to repeat themselves
- It seems as if people mumble
- Difficulty understanding people in noisy environments
- People comment that you have the TV turned up too loud
- You respond inappropriately to questions or conversations
- You feel tired after conversations
- Difficulty following the conversation when there are two people
- You have a hard time understanding speech over the phone
How to Protect Your Hearing
Your hearing is important, and is a crucial way in which you communicate and enjoy life. To protect your hearing, you should be cautious of prolonged exposure to loud noise – any sound that is greater than 85 decibels – as this can lead to noise-induced hearing loss. To protect your hearing when you are around dangerously loud noise, such as concerts, hunting, using power tools, or doing yard work, you should wear hearing protection. Noise that reaches over 85 decibels can be damaging to the hair cells within your inner ears which are responsible for hearing sound. In order to protect your hearing and to keep your ears healthy, it’s important to be proactive by wearing hearing protection and being cautious of prolonged exposure to high levels of noise.
At Associated Hearing, we offer custom hearing protection to keep your hearing healthy. We make molds of your unique ear shape for a custom fit, offering even more hearing protection. If you face continuous loud noise exposure at work or from your favorite activities, please contact us for advice on the latest hearing protection. We want to keep you hearing your best.