What is Hearing Loss
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 17 percent of all adult Americans struggle with some degree of hearing loss. That’s 36 million people in the U.S. suffering from a loss right now. Hearing can be one of life’s greatest pleasures. Therefore, if you are losing your hearing, you are not able to fully appreciate life. If you or a loved one fall into that category, it’s important that you understand what is happening. To better understand the level of your hearing loss, please take a moment to ask yourself the questions below:
- Do I hear but have a difficult time understanding?
- Do I hear sounds but have trouble distinguishing words?
- Do I frequently have to ask people to repeat themselves?
- Do I have difficulty hearing over the phone?
- Do I have difficulty understanding conversations in restaurants and meetings?
- Does my hearing keep me from enjoying good times with family and friends?
- Am I embarrassed by my hearing difficulties?
- Do I have to turn up the volume while watching TV?
- Do I have particular trouble hearing the voices of women and children?
- Do I have trouble hearing at concerts, theaters, church or in group conversations?
If you answered “yes” to at least two of the questions above, you may have a hearing loss. We invite you to schedule a complimentary hearing evaluation with one of our hearing professionals to determine the extent of your loss and to help identify the best treatment program for your needs.
Types of Hearing Loss
Conductive Hearing Loss
In the case of a conductive hearing loss, sound is impaired in the outer and/or middle ear. This usually results in reduced sound levels and the loss of faint sounds. Common causes may include ear infections, earwax, prematurity or hereditary factors, among other diseases and disorders. Acquired causes include overexposure to noise, head injury, disease (like meningitis or encephalitis) or a negative side effect of some drugs. The most common treatments for this type of hearing loss are medical and surgical, but in some cases hearing aids can also be effective alternatives.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
When there is failure to fully or accurately transmit sound through the inner ear (cochlea) or along the neural pathways, this is called a sensorineural hearing loss. Usually the cause of this failure is damage to the interior cochlea. When you hear, sound vibrations are funneled from the outer ear and into the cochlea, where they pass over and stimulate tiny hair cells. When damaged, these hair cells cannot accurately convert sound vibrations into the neuro-electrical impulses that travel through the auditory nerve to the brain. The result is a reduction in perception and interpretation of the hearing impulses. This decrease in hearing sensitivity is typically treated by carefully targeting sound amplification with hearing aids to compensate for damaged hair cells.
Mixed Hearing Loss
This is just what it sounds like: a mixture of a Conductive and Sensorineural loss. This type of loss occurs when one type of loss is present and damage occurs to another part of the ear, causing both types to be present at the same time. Treatments for this type of hearing loss usually include medical and surgical procedures, but in some cases hearing aids can be effective as well.
Tinnitus*Sometimes there is a ringing in the ears or a constant buzzing that is associated with hearing loss. This constant sound is called "Tinnitus”. Tinnitus does not always occur with hearing loss, but they are often associated. While the exact cause of this condition is unknown at this time, there are several known ways to either mask or manage this constant sound. Especially when tinnitus accompanies hearing loss, the use of hearing aids has provided relief for some tinnitus patients. When the hearing loss is in the same frequency range as the tinnitus, hearing aids help bring in the ambient sounds that naturally cover the constant ringing.
AccuQuest has Your Hearing Loss SolutionThe technology available to help people overcome hearing loss is more advanced than ever, and our procedures for identifying areas of loss and for fitting instruments to compensate for the loss are more accurate than ever. If you or a loved one are concerned about your hearing, don't put it off any longer and call us toll-free today at (888) 264-2882 to rediscover one of life’s greatest pleasures.