Are you having difficulty understanding the words when someone speaks to you? Do you find yourself straining to hear your favorite songs on the radio or television? Perhaps you are beginning to avoid situations where you have to interact with others because of the embarrassment of asking them to repeat what they’ve just said. Don’t wait any longer. Call for an appointment with your Doctor of Audiology to have a hearing evaluation which will determine if you have a hearing loss or if it’s a problem that could easily be resolved medically.
The first steps toward hearing better involve consulting with an Audiologist who will determine what type and degree of hearing loss you have. Most people think if you can’t hear, it is simply a problem with your ears. What most people don’t realize is that you hear with your ears but you listen with your brain. It’s important to take a thorough look at the entire hearing system (mechanical working ear, sensory system and brain) to determine the next best step toward better hearing. Your Audiologist will begin by determining through the hearing evaluation which part of your ear (or ears) is affected.
Hearing loss can be categorized by which part of the auditory system has been affected. Generally, a hearing loss will fall into one of three main categories: Conductive hearing loss, Sensorineural hearing loss, or Mixed hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently through the outer ear or middle ear system, which includes the eardrum and tiny ear bones, called ossicles. Conductive hearing loss may be caused by fluid behind the eardrum or a malfunction in the Eustachian tube, the tube that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat. Conductive hearing loss can also be something as simple as having too much wax in the outer ear canal. This type of hearing loss can often be corrected medically or surgically.
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear, or along the nerve pathway between the inner ear and the brain. It can be caused by genetics, the aging process, infection or disease, long periods of exposure to extreme noise, exposure to certain medications or drugs that are toxic to the ear. This type of hearing loss is not generally treatable medically and is usually permanent. Hearing aids can be a good solution for most types of sensorineural hearing loss.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both Conductive and Sensorineural hearing loss in one or both ears. Your Audiologist will discuss the best method for improving your hearing if it is found that you have this type of hearing loss.
Understanding your hearing loss is the first step toward better hearing. If your hearing loss is treatable, your Doctor of Audiology will refer you to an appropriate medical specialist. If your hearing loss is permanent, your Audiologist will work with you to find the best possible solution. Having a hearing loss does not have to interfere with your daily life. Hearing aids designed and fitted specifically for you can improve the social interactions with your family and friends. Don’t waste another day wondering. Call our office for an appointment to have your hearing evaluated by one of our Doctors of Audiology and soon, you’ll be hearing the sounds of life again.