Understanding Hearing Loss
What is the difference between not being able to hear something and hearing loss? The technical definition of hearing loss is a person who is not able to hear as well as someone with normal hearing of a threshold of 20dB or better in both ears. Hearing loss may range from mild to severe and may happen in one or both ears and is categorized as sensorineural, conductive, and mixed hearing loss.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
This type of hearing loss occurs when the inner ear and/or the hearing nerve itself becomes damaged; usually when the hairs cells within the cochlea are damaged. Sensorineural is the most common type of hearing loss that results from aging, exposure to loud noises, injury, disease, drug interaction, or is an inherited condition. It is not typically treated medically or surgically but treated with hearing aids.
Conductive Hearing Loss
This type of hearing loss occurs when sound waves are not able to be carried from the outer or middle ear all the way through to the inner ear. Conductive hearing loss may be the result of a blockage created by earwax, a foreign object in the ear canal, fluid in the ear canal, infection, a bone abnormality, or trauma to the eardrum. The most common instances of conductive hearing loss is in children who have had regular ear infections or have put foreign objects in their ears. Medical and/or surgical procedures may be able to reverse conductive hearing loss.
Mixed Hearing Loss
This type of hearing loss is when both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss are present in an individual. Most often an individual begins with sensorineural hearing loss and then develops conductive hearing loss in the future.
To determine the type of hearing loss a hearing exam needs to be performed by a professional that can then help you determine the best solution to your hearing loss. Florida Gulf Coast Hearing Centers has professionals that can help with your hearing exam, evaluation, and determination of a plan to help rectify your hearing loss.
Recognizing the Signs of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss may occur suddenly or over time. When hearing loss occurs suddenly you will be able to pinpoint the cause of your hearing loss and you need to seek professional evaluation and treatment as soon as possible. When hearing loss occurs over time, it is harder to determine the reason for your hearing loss, but there are signs to watch for to determine if you have hearing loss. Some of the most common signs of hearing loss are: speech and sound seems muffled in person and/or over the phone; high and/or low pitched sounds are hard to hear; when you are in a noisy place the conversation is hard to hear; if you are having trouble differentiating between letter sounds that are similar such as an “s” or “f”; asking others to speak slower, more clearly, louder, and/or to repeat what they said; regularly turning up the volume on your devices; your ears ring; and if you are hypersensitive to certain sounds. Take note of these signs and consider seeking professional help as these signs occur more and more frequently.
Benefits of Upgrading Your Hearing Aids
Recognizing the signs of hearing loss should not only be observed by people who have not been diagnosed with hearing loss and treated. Individuals who have been diagnosed and wear hearing aids also need to recognize these signs of hearing loss as well. If these signs become more and you should have a hearing evaluation and consider upgrading your hearing aids. When you upgrade your hearing aids after continued hearing degradation you are bringing your hearing back to the level that someone with a normal hearing threshold. You will also experience enhanced sound quality and clarity and as you are around others you will better recognize their speech and understand what they say when you upgrade your hearing aids. Technological advances with hearing aids now allow hearing aids to be connected via bluetooth to your devices for a more personalized experience. Hearing aids have also continued to get smaller and more comfortable as the technology advances. These benefits can positively impact the daily lives of individuals with hearing loss as they upgrade their hearing aids.
If you are in need of an evaluation to determine if you have hearing loss or would like to discuss with someone about upgrading your current hearing aids, contact Florida Gulf Coast Hearing Centers. Our experienced doctors and clinicians will help you as you determine your hearing needs. We have a wide range of hearing aid options to suit individual preferences and needs. Contact us to schedule an appointment or consultation to explore your hearing aid upgrade options.