At Hear Now Audiology & Tinnitus Services, we want to help you on your journey to better hearing and communication, which will help enrich your life and relationships. Hearing loss is more common than you may think. 1 in 5 Americans has some degree of hearing loss and for those over the age of 65 that increases to 1 in 3 people! Among school-aged children, approximately 30 out of every 1000 have some degree of hearing loss and approximately 1-5 out of 1000 infants are born with hearing loss. Unfortunately, only about 20% of people who need a hearing aid will admit it and get the expert help that they need.
There is so much stigma, misinformation, confusion and bad publicity given to hearing aids that it can be a challenge to take that first step forward in getting help. Many people think a hearing aid may make them look old or that others will laugh at them when in reality, NOT hearing well is what can cause problems. Today’s devices are NOT your grandpa’s hearing aids. They are small, sophisticated, powerful computers that sit in or on your ear. They can connect to cell phones or accessories allowing better hearing in almost any listening situation.
Hearing loss most often happens gradually, which means people do not notice right away that their hearing ability is changing. These are common signs of hearing loss according to THE BETTER HEARING INSTITUTE:
You ask people to repeat frequently
You have trouble following conversation that involves more than two people
You think that others are mumbling
You have difficulty hearing in noise
You answer wrong or respond inappropriately during conversation
Others complain that you need the TV/radio turned up very loud
You are annoyed because you cannot hear or understand people
You withdraw from social activities that you once enjoyed because of difficulty hearing
If any of the above statements make you say ‘yes, that’s me’, then chances are you have some amount of hearing loss. The average person will wait SEVEN years from the time they begin experiencing the symptoms of hearing loss to the time they decide to seek treatment! But treating hearing loss early is important to your social, emotional and physical well-being.
Types of Hearing Loss:
Conductive hearing loss is from damage to the outer and/or middle ear systems. Some causes of conductive hearing loss include: malformation of the ear canal or middle ear structures, infections, excessive ear wax or other medical conditions. Many times conductive hearing loss can be treated medically by medication and/or surgery.
Sensorineural hearing loss is from damage to the inner ear, whether it is the cochlea, the hair cells and/or the hearing nerve. Some causes of sensorineural hearing loss include: noise exposure (either long-term or a one-time trauma), aging, head trauma, viral infections, tumors or heredity. In most instances, sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and can only be managed with some sort of hearing assistance (hearing aids, cochlear implant, BAHA device).
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss, in which different parts of the auditory system (outer, middle and inner ear) are damaged or affected by some combination of the above mentioned conditions.