Hearing loss can result from a variety of conditions affecting the outer, middle, and/or inner ear.
There are 3 types of hearing loss:
Conductive: hearing loss that results from a condition of the outer and/or middle ear such as fluid, structure malformation, eustachian tube dysfunction, eardrum perforation, benign tumor, foreign body, impacted earwax, and otosclerosis.
Sensorineural: hearing loss that results from a condition of the inner ear and/or auditory nerve such as aging (presbycusis), loud noise exposure, head trauma, family history of hearing loss, virus, structure malformation (cochlea), autoimmune inner ear disease, tumor, and Ménière's disease.
Mixed: hearing loss that has both conductive and sensorineural components.
We can help you understand these types of hearing loss in greater detail. Contact us to learn more.
This simple quiz can help get you started on your path to understanding your hearing health.
1. Do you have difficulty understanding the other person on the telephone?
2. Does it seem like most people around you are mumbling?
3. Is it difficult to understand one person's speech while there is background noise?
4. Do you find it difficult to understand the dialogue on TV unless you turn the volume up high?
5. Do you often need to ask others to repeat themselves?YES NO
Hearing loss is widespread, but misunderstood. Read below to get a better understanding regarding some common hearing myths.
MYTH: "Hearing aids just make everything louder. They don't work at all!"
FACT: It's true that hearing aids are designed to amplify sounds; however, this isn't their only purpose. Current hearing aid technology often functions automatically and will adjust the amount of gain based on the input level. Newer technology is also capable of filtering background noise and louder impulse sounds so that a cleaner signal can be sent to the brain. Hearing aids manufactured currently are vastly different from those manufactured just five years ago. Hearing aid technology is constantly changing and improving; complaints about older hearing aids don't apply to current appropriately-fitted hearing aids.
MYTH: "Hearing loss can be fixed with surgery."
FACT: Certain conditions that cause hearing loss can be managed medically and/or surgically. However, successful treatment of the hearing loss is seen in only about 5-10% of the cases. Other treatment options including hearing aids, assistive listening devices, cochlear implants, and osseointegrated auditory implants (e.g., Baha® and Sophono) may be very beneficial to those who have hearing loss that cannot be addressed by a physician.
MYTH: "It won't matter if I wait to get hearing aids."
FACT: Recent research from National Institute on Aging and Dr. Frank Lin at Johns Hopkins University has revealed that people with hearing loss experience more brain tissue loss each year compared to those with normal hearing. Additionally, a greater amount of the tissue loss occurred in important areas of the brain responsible for sound and speech processing and linked to memory and sensory integration. Without hearing aids, the brain (auditory cortex) will be deprived of the stimulation that it should be receiving and will atrophy at a quicker rate resulting in auditory processing difficulties and potentially earlier symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
With what is known already about the importance of auditory stimulation for the brain, it's clear that it does matter if you wait. The sooner you can give your brain more sound, the better your long-term outcomes will be for your hearing and memory.
MYTH: "Hearing aids won't help because my hearing is too poor."
FACT: This is almost always not true. If you have very poor hearing, this may mean some hearing aids are more appropriate for you than others. Those who have tried hearing aids unsuccessfully in the past should be aware that the advancements in hearing aid technology have addressed many of the problems that frequently occurred with older hearing aid fittings and often hindered successful outcomes. Even if you are not a hearing aid candidate, there are other options that can be explored, such as a CROS or BiCROS system or cochlear implant. The bottom line is that we can help you to improve your hearing.
If you have friends and/or family with hearing loss, follow these tips to help make communication easier: