You Have Questions...We Have Answers!
There are many causes that can accumulate over our lifetimes. Some of the most common ones include:
- Extended exposure to loud noise (military, hunting, music, industrial, power saws, lawn mowers)
- Certain chemotherapy and radiation treatments
- Certain antibiotics
- Head trauma
- Certain medical conditions
- Earwax buildup
- Ear infections
- Viral infections
There are three types of hearing loss:
- Conductive Hearing Loss: Results from a problem with the conduction of sound from the outer ear (the part you can see) to the inner ear (where the nerve is located). This can result from wax buildup, ear infections, trauma to the ear or other problem with the eardrum or bones that conduct sound through the middle ear. Those with this type of loss have a problem of insufficient loudness rather than clarity of hearing.
- Sensorineural Hearing Loss: Involves deterioration of the inner ear or the hearing nerve. The aging process, noise-exposure, some cancer treatments, illness, and other degenerative processes can cause this loss. This type of hearing loss often impairs understanding ability.
- Mixed Hearing Loss: Occurs when there are problems in both the inner ear and outer or middle ear. It’s a combination of a conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
Everyone’s hearing is unique, so everyone experiences hearing loss in different ways. Here are some of the common symptoms:
- You often miss certain words or find yourself confusing words or misunderstanding conversations.
- You frequently ask the speaker to repeat what was said.
- Your family members or friends have expressed concern about your hearing.
- You avoid certain social situations (the theater, restaurants, parties) because it’s difficult to hear.
- You have difficulty understanding telephone conversations.
- You turn up the volume on the radio or television to levels that are too loud for others.
- You have difficulty following conversations in groups or in background noise.
- You have difficulty hearing outdoor sounds such as birds or the wind.
Here’s an easy test that looks at everyday situations where early signs of hearing loss may be evident:
- Do you miss some of the dialogue while watching TV?
- Do you fail to catch all the words spoken by a woman or child?
- Do you not understand a conversation when there’s background noise?
- Do you have difficulty understanding when several people are talking at once?
- Do you have difficulty understanding on the telephone?
- Do you sometimes not hear the doorbell or telephone ringing?
- Do some noises bother you (dishes, cups, motors, appliances)?
- Do you find music to be less enjoyable?
If you answered ‘yes’ at least once, it’s a good idea to have your hearing checked.