Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

 

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss has many different causes and manifestations. It affects people of all ages, though it is most commonly associated with the aging process. Hearing loss can be sudden or gradual over time. Hearing loss occurs when sound is blocked in any of the areas of the ear. The most common cause of hearing loss is exposure to loud noises, which is preventable. Hearing loss can also be caused by infections, either of the ear or elsewhere in the body.

Signs of hearing loss

  • Difficulty hearing in the presence of background noise
  • Constantly asking for repetition
  • Leaning in to hear better
  • Television and radio need to be much louder
  • Tinnitus
  • Incorrect responses to conversation partners on a frequent basis
  • Family, friends, and loves ones express frustration with your hearing loss
  • Difficulty performing one’s vocation due to mistakes from hearing

Types of hearing loss

    • Sensorineural Hearing Loss – This type of hearing loss occurs when there are deficiencies in the inner ear. The inner ear encompasses the hearing organ known as the cochlea, the semicircular canals, and the 8th cranial nerve that connects to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss that accompanies presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss.
      https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/age-related-hearing-loss
    • Conductive Hearing Loss – A conductive hearing loss is usually the result of a “blockage” in the ear, a growth on the ossicles of the ear (three small bones in the middle ear that are among the smallest bones in your body), or a hole in the eardrum. Common forms of blockages include fluid in the ear as a result of an ear infection or allergies, a dysfunctional Eustachian tube, impacted earwax, and possibly even a foreign object stuck in your ear. Some conductive hearing losses are congenital or may be a result of trauma. Many causes of conductive hearing losses can be treated by your primary care physician or physician that specializes in areas of the ear, nose, and throat (ENT).
    • Mixed Hearing Loss – A mixed hearing loss is a combination of a conductive hearing loss and a sensorineural hearing loss. If the cause of the conductive hearing loss is treated and resolved, a sensorineural hearing loss may still remain.
    • Congenital hearing loss or hearing loss that is present at birth maybe a cause of hearing loss in children. Congenital hearing loss maybe due to both genetic and acquired factors. Advancements in newborn hearing screening management help diagnose hearing loss in the neonatal population, thus providing awareness and intervention of hearing loss early on in a child’s life.
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5675031/
  • Acquired hearing loss can occur any time after birth and can proceed from illness or an injury. Ear infections are a common cause of acquired hearing loss in children. Exposure to acoustic trauma such as exposure to loud noises or diseases such as the Flu or Chicken Pox may also cause hearing loss.https://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Acquired-Hearing-Loss/
  • Neural hearing loss – This form of hearing loss affects the way the brain the sound signal is perceived by the brain. The inner ear is able to detect the sound; however, the brain then has difficulty understanding the sound signal that was presented to it. Some patients may find benefit from hearing aids coupled with personal listening devices such as a frequency modulation system (FM) or a cochlear implant.
    https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/auditory-neuropathy

Hearing Aids

  • Prior to dispensing of a hearing aid, our patients are seen for an appointment known as a Hearing Aid Evaluation. During this appointment, we will discuss the various styles of hearing aids as well as the different technologies offered from the manufacturers we work with, ultimately finding you the best fit for your hearing needs.
  • Descriptions of different styles of hearing aid may be found on this website
    https://www.asha.org/public/hearing/different-styles-of-hearing-aids/

Hearing Aid Brands That We Offer

These are the Hearing Aid Manufacturer brands that we work with:

Tinnitus

Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is the perception of sound without an external source being present. Tinnitus can be an intermittent or continuous sound in one or both ears. If persistent enough, tinnitus can impact a person’s daily life or health. Tinnitus can be classified as primary tinnitus, where no cause can be identified aside from hearing loss, or secondary tinnitus, which has a specific underlying cause that may be treatable. If you experience tinnitus, you should schedule an appointment to better understand tinnitus and its causes.

Tinnitus can be caused by a variety of factors including excessive noise exposure, damage of the sensory hair cells in the inner ear, medications that damage the inner ear cells, common aging processes and damage from head trauma. A medical history and audiogram (hearing test) will be conducted during the evaluation for tinnitus.

Treatment for tinnitus is dependent on the cause and can range from treatment of middle ear fluid, removal of wax from the ear canal, to coping methods and sound therapy to mask tinnitus. Patients with hearing loss and tinnitus may find improvement using hearing aids. The proper course of treatment will be determined by our ENT physicians and audiologists.