If you suffer from hearing loss, then you know how complicated it can make life. With proper hearing care, you can live life the way you want. It affects people at any age, and it impacts up to 20% of the American population. If you have trouble hearing, it’s time to take your life back at ENTACC.
Symptoms of hearing loss
Symptoms of hearing loss can vary, and knowing what to look for can help you act before it progresses too far. The first thing to note is the two causes of it: long-term noise exposure and aging. Symptoms of hearing loss include:
- Always asking “huh” or “what.
- Constantly feeling like people are mumbling when talking to you
- Not being able to concentrate on conversations when there is background noise
- Constantly turning up the volume
- Avoiding noisy places
Hearing loss takes place gradually over time, and you may not even notice it at first, but looking out for these signs can help you get the treatment you need sooner rather than later. You can also look to your family and friends for help because often, they are the ones that notice your behavior changes.
If you suspect hearing problems, you should schedule an appointment to have your hearing tested.
Diagnosing hearing loss
Diagnosing hearing loss is usually a simple process. Your doctor will first discuss your medical history, go over your symptoms, and finally perform a hearing evaluation. The hearing evaluation may consist of several tests that will help the doctor determine the cause and severity.
Types of hearing loss
After testing, your doctor will diagnose your hearing loss so he can suggest the best treatment options for you. The three types of hearing loss are conductive, sensorineural, or mixed hearing loss. In addition, it can be unilateral (one ear) or bilateral (both ears).
Conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a problem in the eardrum, ear canal, outer, or middle ear. Common treatments include medications or surgeries, but in some cases, hearing aids are necessary. Some common causes of conductive hearing loss include:
- Fluid in the ears
- Abnormalities of the outer or middle ear
- Impacted earwax
- Ear infection
- Object in the ear
- Perforated eardrum
Sensorineural hearing loss
Problems with the inner ear and nerves cause sensorineural hearing loss. Like conductive hearing loss, treatments include surgery or medication, but hearing aids are needed most of the time. Some common causes include:
- Exposure to noise
- Trauma to the head
- Viral disease
- Meniere’s disease
- Abnormality in the inner ear
- Autoimmune ear disease
- Perforated eardrum(link to the perforated eardrum page)
Mixed hearing loss
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of the two types above. Your doctor can determine the degree and best treatment plan for you.
What is the most common form of hearing loss in young people?
The most common form of hearing loss in young people is noise-induced hearing loss. It is caused by both a single loud sound or exposure to sounds over time. Avoiding dangerous sound levels can help prevent hearing problems. Sounds over 85 decibels are considered dangerous, and if you must be around this level of noise, it is important to wear earplugs.
Approximately 15% of adults in the U.S. suffer from noise-induced hearing loss. Some activities that can cause it are:
- Riding on loud vehicles, like motorcycles
- Listening to loud music
- Playing in a band
- Doing work that requires you to be around loud noises
While you may need to be around loud noises, there are ways to prevent hearing loss.
Preventing hearing problems
The key to preventing hearing loss is ear protection. Any time you know you will be working or attending a place where you will be around loud noise, it is important to have ear protection. This can include things like earplugs or earmuffs.
When at home, you can limit your noise exposure by avoiding wearing loud headphones or turning the TV or radio up too loud. You can also avoid sticking things in your ears, like cotton swabs, and blowing your nose too hard. Studies also show that people who use tobacco are more likely to experience hearing loss, so quitting smoking or other tobacco use may help.
Get a hearing consultation from ENTACC
No matter your age, you should have a hearing test done regularly. At ENTACC we can help you catch your hearing loss early and provide the appropriate treatment.