Ashford Clinic Blog
3 Things to Know about Hearing Loss
Do you have trouble hearing? Are you concerned about maintaining your ability to hear? If so, you are one of 36 million Americans who suffer from loss of hearing. In fact, hearing loss is the third most common health issue in the country. Here are a few things you should know about this very common health problem:
1. There are two types of hearing loss
Sensory or Nerve-type hearing loss occurs when the inner ear loses the ability to sense sound or speech. This is the most common type of hearing loss. It can occur due to genetics, it occurs gradually (or sometimes rapidly) with age. Noise trauma, autoimmune or systemic inflammatory conditions (like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus), or even some medications or medical treatments (including aspirin and chemotherapy) can also play a role.
Conductive hearing loss is a product of the disruption of the mechanism that transfers sound from the ear canal all the way to the inner ear. This type is far less common and can be treated surgically.
2. You may not know that it’s happening
In most cases, loss of hearing occurs so gradually that it can often go unnoticed. Things to look out for include:
- Difficulty hearing over background noise
- Misunderstanding what is said to you
- Difficulty understanding phone conversations
- High pitched sounds, like “s” or “f” sounds, female voices, or children’s voices become hard to decipher
- Having to often ask people to repeat themselves
- Difficulty following a conversation when more than one person speaks at once
- Complaints from others that the TV is too loud
- Tinnitus, or ringing, hissing, or roaring in the ears
3. Treatment options may vary
There is no “one-size fits all” treatment for loss of hearing, treatment is based on the type of hearing loss and the underlying, reversible conditions that can be treated. There is also some crossover between otolaryngology and audiology in terms of treatment options. In some cases, medication (or switching medication) and diet modification can treat loss of hearing successfully, while other cases call for surgical options. In the event of permanent loss of hearing, the most common treatments are hearing aids. Modern hearing aids have changed considerably with technological advances in audiology, as audiologists can fine tune the devices to compensate for your specific hearing challenges. If you think you are experiencing a loss of hearing, contact your doctor today to determine the best treatment options for you.