Do You Need A Hearing Test?
The Impact of Hearing Loss on Quality of Life
Hearing loss can have a profound impact on quality of life. The effects begin small and progress as hearing loss worsens. For most individuals, it starts with others sounding like they are mumbling because some sounds cannot be heard well. The individual often has to ask others to repeat themselves, and this becomes frustrating for both parties. As hearing loss progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult to hear others in the presence of background noise. Social gatherings and even dinner at a restaurant become isolating activities because of the inability to understand what people are saying. Over time, these barriers to communication can lead to strained marriages, diminished or lost friendships, and limited interactions with coworkers and supervisors.
From the CDC
Do others complain the TV is too loud?
Do you notice ringing, whistling or buzzing sounds in your ears?
What Happens During a Hearing Test?
A visit to any health care provider can be stressful for some people. Before the actual test begins, we’ll take a detailed history of the patient, focusing on their hearing health history. Following the history will be a thorough examination of the outer ear and external ear canal. We use an instrument called an otoscope to make sure the ear canal is free of wax. Below is a brief explanation of the individual tests that may be administered during your visit.
This is what you probably think of as a “hearing test”. Your hearing levels are measured using tones through air and bone, providing us with sensitivity levels to sound. A hearing test provides an evaluation of the sensitivity of a person’s sense of hearing. The equipment that is most frequently used to assess a person’s hearing sensitivity is called an audiometer.
Tympanometry is a test of the middle ear used to detect fluid, wax buildup, eardrum perforations and tumors. It measures movement of the eardrum in response to air pressure; the results are recorded on a chart called a tympanogram.
Speech testing may be administered in either a quiet or noisy environment; results are recorded on the audiogram for easy visual reference. The results will help us determine your percentage of hearing loss, your ability to understand speech and if hearing aids will help you or not.
A hearing test will enable us to determine:
- Whether or not you have hearing loss
- The possible cause of hearing loss
- The degree and type of hearing loss and whether it’s in one or both ears
- The best treatment options
What To Do About Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is more common than you might think. It’s estimated that 48 million Americans experience hearing loss, including one in six baby boomers. Noise, diabetes or other factors can cause hearing loss. But most often it’s simply a result of getting older. Hearing loss typically happens slowly over a period of years. You can gradually get used to asking others to repeat themselves, to straining to hear in restaurants or business meetings, to turning the TV volume up so high that nobody else can stay in the room. But you can do better. Most hearing loss is mild and treatable. There’s no reason to tough it out or to feel left out when you could be getting more from life.
Why live with hearing loss? You’ll hurt not only yourself but your family and friends. When you can’t participate in conversations, it frustrates you and your loved ones. Some people become so self-conscious or frustrated by their hearing loss that they stop doing what they love, like playing sports or going to the symphony or even to family gatherings. Don’t let that be you!
What to Do When a Loved One Has Hearing Loss
How We Hear
Hearing involves teamwork between your ears and your brain. Hearing begins when sound waves enter your outer ear (the part that’s visible on the outside of your head). The waves travel through your auditory canal, a tube-like passageway lined with tiny hairs and small glands that produce earwax to your middle ear.
The middle ear has three small bones, often referred to as the hammer, the anvil and the stirrup, and the eardrum. The middle ear has an important job: to amplify sound. If any of the middle ear parts get disrupted, significant hearing loss can result.
Hearing: The Inside Story
When waves of sound, such as the chirp of birds in your backyard, travel to your middle ear and hit your eardrum, your eardrum vibrates and, in turn, moves the malleus (the small bone is shaped like a hammer). The malleus moves the anvil, which moves the stirrup, transmitting the vibrations into your inner ear.
Your inner ear consists of the cochlea (a small, snail-like structure) and the auditory nerve, which carries information between the cochlea and the brain. With the help of tiny hair cells, the auditory nerve converts sound waves into nerve impulses that travel to your brain. Your brain interprets the sound so you “hear” it as birds chirping, a voice or music. All told, hearing is an amazing process that happens in a split second.
Certain drugs, diseases, noise or simply aging can damage hair cells. Once these hair cells are gone, you can’t use Rogaine to make them grow back. But hearing aids can help compensate.
If you’re experiencing hearing loss, we’re here to help. We can determine what’s not working as well as it should be. We’ll explain your options and help you choose the best solution for your hearing needs and your lifestyle.
Types of Hearing Loss
Types Of Hearing Loss
Getting a hearing test is the first step to improving your hearing. A hearing test will identify any hearing loss you may have and the extent.
THERE ARE FOUR BASIC TYPES OF HEARING LOSS:
Conductive hearing loss is usually temporary, this type of hearing loss can be fixed with medication, a short procedure or, on rare occasions, with surgery.
This type of hearing loss occurs when tiny hairs in the cochlea are missing or damaged. Getting fitted with hearing aids is the only non-surgical solution.
A combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, this type of hearing loss is usually treated with hearing aids alone, and occasionally in conjunction with medication, a short procedure or with surgery.
Caused by strokes and central nervous system diseases, this type of hearing loss usually involves a therapy called auditory rehabilitation.
HOW CAN YOU HELP YOURSELF AND YOUR LOVED ONES LIVE BETTER?
Get a hearing test to determine whether you have hearing loss and the extent of the loss. After your hearing test, we can determine your best option and help you select treatments that will:
- Work best for your level of hearing loss
- Complement your lifestyle
- Fit your budget
IT’S TIME TO TURN UP THE VOLUME AND ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF BETTER HEARING.
Hearing helps keep you sharp. When you can hear better, you can process information faster, kick your brain into gear and feel like yourself again. The sooner you do something about your hearing, the sooner you’ll regain your confidence.
Hearing Loss & Dementia
Research not only shows a connection between hearing loss and dementia, but a Johns Hopkins study of older adults found that hearing loss actually accelerates brain function decline. Some experts believe that interventions, like hearing aids, could potentially delay or prevent dementia. Research is ongoing.
Your Heart & Hearing Loss
Cardiovascular and hearing health are linked. Some experts say the inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow that it’s possible that abnormalities in the cardiovascular system can be noted here earlier than in other, less sensitive parts of the body.
Depression & Hearing Loss
Research shows that hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of depression in adults of all ages, but is most pronounced between ages 18 to 69. Research also shows that the use of hearing aids reduces depressive symptoms.
Being Around Those With Hearing Loss Can Be Frustrating
Hearing loss puts a strain on relationships, especially when you know that better hearing could improve your loved one’s quality of life. Untreated hearing loss is tough to witness too. Those with hearing loss can lose confidence, withdraw socially, become isolated or even depressed. Depending on the cause of the hearing loss, a person’s balance may be affected. It’s also easy to mistake hearing loss for memory loss or dementia.
Getting a loved one to deal with hearing loss isn’t always easy. (Do the words stubborn and pride come to mind?) But it’s the right thing to do. We’ve helped concerned family members and friends, just like you, who want to share the gift of better hearing. We can help you know what to say and do. Don’t wait to help someone suffering from symptoms like these. Be proactive. Call or text us today!
How Can You Help?
Share your concerns about their hearing with them. Be tactful and be aware that it’s normal for people with hearing loss to become defensive. No one likes to admit they might need hearing aids. Encourage them to have a hearing test, but don’t get into an argument about it. Mention it and then move to the next step. Be upbeat. One out of 20 will flatly refuse to get a hearing test. If that’s the case, remind them that if they see the audiologist and the hearing test shows they don’t have a hearing loss, that would be good news! Call or text and schedule an appointment with us. Let your loved one know you did it for them. Most people appreciate your concern and will talk to us and get a hearing test.
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