According to the American Academy of Audiology, over 36 million Americans suffer from hearing loss, and half of those are under the age of 65. Studies show that the average person waits 7–10 years after first experiencing hearing loss symptoms before seeking treatment. Untreated hearing loss can affect a person’s quality of life, as the inability to hear clearly can lead to frustration, sadness, depression, and anxiety. In some cases, it can negatively affect relationships with family and friends.
Fortunately, there are numerous options for treating hearing loss today. Depending on the cause and type of your hearing loss, you may benefit from:
- Removing wax blockage. Earwax blockage can cause a simple case of temporary hearing loss. Your Florida Gulf Coast ENT can remove excess earwax to restore your hearing.
- Hearing aids.
- Cochlear implants.
- Surgical procedures.
Hearing aids are medical devices worn behind or in the ear. They can improve hearing by amplifying sound. While they don’t usually restore hearing to normal levels, they can make significant improvements. Hearing aid technology is rapidly advancing, and modern options include a myriad of styles to fit your lifestyle. There are four main types of hearing aids:
Behind-the-ear (BTE) aids: These hearing aids are generally the largest hearing aid style. They consist of a plastic case containing electronically parts rests behind the ear and is connected to an earmold that fits in the ear canal. This type of hearing aid is easy to clean and easy to handle, and is relatively sturdy.
Receiver-in-canal (RIC or RIE) aids: In this type of hearing aid, a small wire connects the aid to a tiny speaker that sits in the ear canal. It is less visible than a BTE-style hearing aid and can be more comfortable.
In-the-ear (ITE) aids: With this type of hearing aid, all parts are contained in a custom-fit shell that sits completely in the outer ear.
In-the-canal (ITC) aids & completely-in-the-canal (CIC) aids: With this type of hearing aid, all parts are contained in a custom-fit shell that sits partly or completely in the ear canal. people may like them because they are less noticeable while other people may find them harder to handle.
A cochlear implant is an electronic device that improves for people who have severe hearing loss and who don’t benefit from hearing aids. While hearing aids amplify sound, a cochlear implant redirects sound signals to the auditory nerve, bypassing damaged portions of the ear. Cochlear implants consist of multiple parts: one that hooks over the ear or is worn on the head, and another that is surgically placed under the skin on the temporal born, as well as electrodes placed in the inner ear.
Surgery may be performed if an abnormally of the ear is causing hearing loss, such as a damaged ear drum, bone erosion or abnormal bone growth. Additionally, fluid build-up can cause frequent ear infections and hearing loss, which can be improved with surgical placement of ear tubes to help the fluid drain.
Sometimes, these treatments are not enough. At Florida Gulf Coast Hearing Center, we also offer the following therapeutic programs to help you adjust to living with diminished hearing loss:
- Listening And Communication Enhancement (L.A.C.E.®) Auditory Training Program: Designed to help you retrain your brain to comprehend speech up to 40% better in difficult listening situations.
- Hearing Loss and Tinnitus Support Groups:
- Adults with Complex Listening Needs:
Meet other people facing similar struggles and find comfort in their support. This teaches you methods to cope and provides an open forum to share your experiences.
We partner with Advanced Bionics for adults experiencing sound for the first time through hearing aids and/or a cochlear implant or have used hearing devices for many years, making the connection to understanding with your devices is something that takes time and practice. You can maximize your success by having up to date knowledge, the latest technology facts, resources for your individualized rehabilitation.
When you visit the Florida Gulf Coast Hearing Center, your audiologist will perform a thorough ear examination of the entire ear, including the outer ear, ear canal, eardrum, and middle ear to ensure there’s no underlying cause of your hearing loss that might require medical attention. Then you’ll undergo a rigorous diagnostic hearing evaluation to assess the sensitivity of your hearing at different frequencies. Depending on these findings, other tests may be conducted.
Treating hearing loss is vital for communicating with family, friends, and co-workers. You will benefit from improved health and well-being and improve your quality of life.