Symptoms of hearing loss include difficulty understanding what others are saying, asking people to repeat themselves, struggling to hear in crowded places with distracting background noise, the perception that others are mumbling or not speaking clearly, listening to the television or radio at a higher volume than others, experiencing a ringing or buzzing in the ears. You may find yourself withdrawing from social situations in order to avoid conversation and might experience depression.
What causes hearing loss?
A number of factors can cause hearing loss. The most common include aging, noise exposure, ear infections, excessive earwax, ear or head trauma, genetics, birth defects, benign growths or tumors, otosclerosis, Meniere’s disease and reactions to drugs.
Are there different types of hearing loss?
Yes. There are three types of hearing loss: Sensorineural, conductive and mixed. Sensorineural is the result of damage to the inner ear nerves. Conductive is the result of obstructions in the outer or middle ear. Mixed hearing loss is a combination of the other two types; this means that in one ear you have an issue with the outer or middle ear and the inner ear.
Can hearing loss be prevented?
Some types of hearing loss are preventable. Noise-induced hearing loss can be avoided by wearing proper hearing protection when exposed to occupational or recreational noise and turning down the volume on your TV, radio or personal music device. To prevent other types of hearing loss, avoid sticking cotton swabs or other objects in your ears, blow your nose gently through both nostrils and swallow or yawn frequently when traveling by airplane.
What are hearing aids?
Hearing aids are instruments that amplify sounds in order to enable those with hearing loss to hear more clearly.
Will wearing a hearing aid make me appear old or frail?
Today’s hearing aids are small and discreet, and some models are completely invisible to others. Besides, asking people to repeat themselves, responding inappropriately when others are talking and social withdrawal are more obvious indicators of hearing loss than wearing hearing aids.
What type of hearing aid is best for me?
Choosing a hearing aid can be a daunting task. Your audiologist will work closely with you to take into account several factors – the type and severity of your hearing loss, your lifestyle, the size and shape of your outer ears and inner ear canals and your manual dexterity – in order to determine the best hearing device for you.
What is a cochlear implant?
A cochlear implant is an electronic device that converts sound to digital signals that are sent to the brain, bypassing damaged nerve cells, where they are translated as sound. Whereas hearing aids amplify sounds, cochlear implants enable the user to understand speech and speak more clearly. They help patients with severe or profound hearing loss who can’t benefit from hearing aids.
What are assistive listening devices?
Assistive listening devices (ALDs) are portable amplifiers that may be used either in conjunction with hearing aids and cochlear implants or on their own. They separate speech from background noises, making it easier to follow conversations in certain environments where distance, competing distractions or poor acoustics are factors.
Call Hill Country Audiology at (512) 763-8855 for more information or to schedule an appointment.