Think You May Have Hearing Loss?About 48 million people experience hearing loss, making it one of the most common chronic health conditions across the U.S. Because it usually develops gradually, many people don’t even realize they have a hearing impairment in Tucson. In fact, it takes the average person seven years before they contact an audiologist. Knowing the signs is helpful in spurring you to take action sooner. Any of the following might indicate hearing loss:
- Frequently asking people to repeat what they have said.
- Feeling like others mumble when they speak.
- Having difficulty following conversations in which background noise is present.
- Turning up the volume on the television or radio.
- Avoiding social gatherings in noisy places.
Diagnosing Hearing LossIn order to diagnose hearing loss, your doctor will review your medical history, discuss your symptoms, and give you a physical examination followed by a hearing evaluation consisting of a series of audiological tests. The most common tests include:
- Pure Tone Audiometry. This test measures your response to sounds of varying frequencies and volumes.
- Bone Conduction Test. This test is used to check for a blockage in your outer or middle ear.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR). An ABR test measures your brainwave activity in response to noises.
- Speech Testing. Speech testing measures your ability to hear and repeat back words and phrases.
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs). This test measures the production of otoacoustic emission from the cochlea.
Hearing Loss TypesHearing loss is broken down into three types.
- Conductive hearing loss is the result of damage to the ear canal, eardrum or middle ear. It can be caused by structural deformities, fluid or wax accumulation in the middle ear, ear infection, allergies, eardrum perforations, foreign objects in the ear, otosclerosis and benign tumors.
- Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear. It aging and noise exposure, it may be caused by trauma, viruses, autoimmune disorders, otosclerosis, Meniere’s disease, malformations of the inner ear and tumors.
- Mixed Hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss and affects both the inner ear and middle and/or outer ears.
Benefits of Treating Your Hearing LossTreating your hearing loss can have positive benefits on more than just your ability to hear. It can:
- Improve your mental, cognitive and physical health
- Increase your ability to learn and focus
- Increase your earning power
- Improve your emotional well-being by providing you with renewed confidence, better relationships and increased social interactions