Hearing loss can sometimes be hard to identify since each patient will have different experiences.
Unfortunately, I have seen many patients wait too long, resulting in further damage that could’ve been avoided with early intervention.
Only once the problem becomes unbearable do most people seek help. While we can still assist everyone, it’s much more advantageous to identify a problem early on and receive professional treatment then.
Hearing loss can present itself very gradually, and thus a patient has ample time to adapt and keep their problems concealed from their family, friends, and co-workers.
To ensure you and your loved ones take a proactive approach in addressing any hearing challenges, I have used my 25 years of experience and expertise as an audiologist to detail below the causes of hearing loss and your best course of action to treat it.
What Is Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss comes in many different shapes and sizes, but in all cases, your brain is losing the signal from your ears. It cannot process information that it doesn’t receive.
Many people learn to live with this condition because it presents itself gradually. It gives people time to adapt to their lifestyle and learn how to read visual cues such as lip reading much better.
People can also find ways around it in the workplace, at home, or in social environments. It’s these habits that cause hearing loss to develop in severity and narrow treatment options when left too long.
Different Types Of Hearing Loss
There are three main types of hearing loss:
Sensorineural – As the most common of the three, this type of hearing loss is most commonly caused by aging. Our bodies endure a fair amount of wear and tear as we get older. That goes for your ears as well. After processing sound for so long, the hair cells in our cochlear become damaged. This is incurable, but the use of a prescription hearing aid can provide the most effective form of treatment.
Conductive – Occurring within the outer ear, conductive hearing loss is when the sound waves are not reaching the inner ear to be processed. This may be due to a physical condition such as impacted earwax or excess fluid. Sometimes, this can be remedied, and hearing is completely restored with the help of a professional.
Mixed – Sometimes, medical terms are very straightforward. Mixed hearing loss is any combination of sensorineural and conductive. People commonly develop sensorineural and then incur a conductive that forces them to seek help. It can also go the other way as well.
Your hearing can become damaged after one encounter with a loud noise. Things like fireworks, gunshots, concerts, and loud engines can all cause hearing damage instantly.
Being exposed to loud noises over a long period of time will also develop hearing loss. The CDC defines “loud” as anything above 85 decibels. This is approximately the volume of a lively conversation. Those who work in factories or around heavy machinery are strongly urged to wear hearing protection.
It happens to all of us. As we get older, our nerves and immune system begin to falter. This allows for all types of health issues, with hearing loss being very common. Protect your hearing from a young age to maintain healthy hearing for as long as possible.
Physical issues such as impacted earwax can harm your hearing. In these cases, treatment is more successful as your hearing is likely to be restored once the obstruction is removed.
How To Deal With Hearing Loss
The best way to address hearing loss is to partner with a professional audiologist. They will be able to identify your unique issues and treat them accordingly.
It can be hard to determine where to seek help with so many resources and options now available to us. The internet is full of advice and videos on how to help, but we urge everyone to first reach out to a hearing healthcare professional.
Your hearing health is crucial to your overall well-being and should be treated as a priority. We are here to help all residents in the Valley of the Sun, and we have the experience and knowledge to do so.
The first step in establishing a baseline of your current hearing abilities is to schedule a comprehensive hearing assessment. With the data collected from the test, we can accurately diagnose your specific problem and create a plan to not only improve your hearing but to also create a better hearing profile moving forward.
Hearing loss is treatable; the hearing you have now is worth taking care of. So let’s protect it at all costs. We are here to help.