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Hearing Loss: Commonly Asked Questions

What causes hearing loss?

Hearing loss can result from a variety of causes such as noise damage, head or ear trauma, a congenital condition, or damage to the auditory nerve.

What are the different types of hearing loss?

Sensorineural, conductive, or combination. Hearing loss can occur suddenly, over time, or be present at birth. Hearing loss varies in severity and may be reversible or permanent.

What is sensorineural hearing loss?

This kind of hearing loss occurs when damage is done to the inner ear or the nerve paths from the inner ear to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by noise exposure, infections, aging, genetics, tumors, and ototoxic medication – medication that is toxic to the ear.

What is conductive hearing loss?

Conductive hearing loss results from a problem in the middle ear or external ear canal. Causes include wax impaction or build-up, head or ear trauma, foreign objects in the ear canal, fractures or scarring to the middle ear bones, or fluid in the middle ear.

What are the signs of hearing loss?

Common signs include muffled sounds and difficulty understanding speech. You may find yourself frequently asking others to repeat themselves, speak up, or talk slower. Hearing sounds but not comprehending words is also a common sign of hearing loss.

Conversations in noisy environments may be more challenging to understand. Tinnitus – ringing or buzzing in the ears – is also associated with hearing loss.

What are the treatment options for hearing loss?

Treatment depends on the cause and severity of your hearing loss. Hearing aids and cochlear implants are used to treat sensorineural hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss may require surgical treatment to remove foreign objects or wax from the ear. Medical treatment may also be required to drain excess fluid or repair damage.

Aural rehabilitation – diagnosing and treating hearing loss – is a process that identifies the type of hearing loss and utilizes hearing devices and therapies to treat it.

How can I prevent hearing loss?

Protect your ears from noise damage with noise-canceling headphones or earplugs. Avoid noisy environments. Pay attention to the volume of your television, radio, and other personal listening devices, especially if you use earbuds. Any sound over 85 dB will cause hearing damage.

Visit an audiologist to set a baseline for your hearing. If you notice sudden hearing loss or experience a hearing emergency, your doctor will be able to note the deviations from your previous tests.

What are the dangers of untreated hearing loss?

Untreated hearing loss can cause mental decline because your brain is not utilizing its auditory cortex. Isolation and depression are commonly associated with hearing loss as social engagement becomes more difficult. Your safety may also be at risk if you cannot hear warning sounds like alarms or sirens.

Hearing loss of any kind should be treated immediately to avoid further damage. Call 610-527-4312 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

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