Hearing and Hearing Loss
Approximately 48 million American adults report some degree of hearing lossA. About two to three of every 1,000 children in the U.S. are born with a detectable level of hearing loss. B,C One in six U.S. adults aged 18 and older report trouble hearing.D
Why is hearing important?
Hearing is one of most important senses. Hearing, and your ability to communicate are very closely related. If you can’t hear well, verbal communication can be impaired. If a newborn baby has hearing loss, their speech and language development may be delayed. If an adult has hearing loss, it can affect their ability to function at work E. If an older-adult has hearing loss, it may contribute to dementia and depression F,G.
Hearing loss can be due many different reasons. Infection, injury, noise-exposure, genetics and aging all can affect hearing.
Symptoms of hearing loss
Hearing loss can cause other ear symptoms as well. Tinnitus, or ringing in the ear is often associated with hearing loss. The sensation of fullness or pressure in the ear can occur also.
Hearing loss can be gradual or sudden
Gradual hearing loss may not cause obvious symptoms. If hearing loss happens very slowly over years, you may not notice it as much as a sudden change in hearing. An early sign of gradual hearing loss may be trouble understanding people when background noise is present (restaurants, meetings, music playing). Typically, family members or friends may bring up the concern about your hearing if gradual loss is occurring. A common excuse for gradual onset hearing loss is that “I can hear fine, it’s just that everyone mumbles when they talk.”
If you experience sudden hearing loss that occurs rapidly or over the course of a couple hours or days, immediate evaluation is needed. It could just be a simple problem like ear wax, or it can be the sign of a more serious ear condition. Contacting a medical provider that has the ability to check your hearing is recommended.
Types of hearing loss
There are three types of hearing loss; conductive, sensorineural and mixed hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound cannot reach the hearing nerve. Common causes of conductive hearing loss are ear wax blocking the ear canal, fluid trapped behind the ear drum, a hole in the ear drum or an ear infection. This type of hearing loss can typically be corrected by an Ear, Nose and Throat provider.
Sensorineural hearing loss is due to problems in the inner ear or hearing nerve. Examples of this are age-related hearing loss, genetic hearing loss (you’re born with it), or noise induced hearing loss. Most people with this type of hearing loss will need hearing aids or other devices to improve their hearing. We can help you work on this.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
Proliance Eastside ENT evaluates and treats all types of hearing loss and hearing concerns. If you or a loved one has a concern about hearing, contact us today for an evaluation.