Hearing loss is a condition that can happen to anyone. However, it usually presents early symptoms that can be diagnosed in order to lead to early treatment. These symptoms may appear gradually, making hearing loss difficult to spot in yourself or in those you love. If you notice symptoms, you should speak to an audiologist who can perform hearing evaluations to help determine the best treatment option.
When people are speaking to you, especially children, you find yourself straining to understand them. Their voices will often sound muffled. This is because as your hearing loss progresses, the part of your ear that processes high pitched noises is typically the first to experience damage. This may also happen if you find yourself unable to concentrate on the conversation, as the background noise is seemingly louder than what someone is saying to you. This may be a sign that it is time to visit an audiologist to provide an accurate diagnosis, which may include treatment with the use of hearing aids.
Volume Levels Off
Some people around you may comment that you are turning up the volume higher than what they perceive to be a normal level. If more than a few people have spoken up about the volume that you listen to the radio or tv, it may be time to visit a professional that can perform hearing tests. They may deem that you need hearing aids to help correct your hearing loss.
When you are experiencing hearing loss, your brain tries to fill in the blanks. This can cause your brain to be working extra hard when you are in social situations, causing you to become tired more frequently. Evaluations that test hearing can be given by an audiologist to rule out any hearing loss situations.
Types of Hearing Loss
While the symptoms of hearing loss can range drastically, all issues generally fall under three different categories.
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the inner ear, called the cochlea, has difficulty functioning. This is the nerve that connects to the brain. Damage to the cochlea can occur due to natural aging, infection, or loud noises. Those who are suffering from sensorineural hearing loss often hear voices as distorted or muffled. Sensorineural hearing loss is irreversible, but can be treated with hearing aids.
Conductive hearing loss is when someone experiences damage to the middle ear. This is when sound can not be conducted properly, but typically due to a physical issue. The causes of conductive hearing loss could be fluid or wax in the middle ear, as well as a damaged ear drum. Normally, conductive hearing loss can be corrected by an audiologist without the need for hearing aids.
Mixed hearing loss occurs when the inner ear and middle ear are both experiencing damage, which is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. Although the middle ear issue may be able to be corrected, a person may still require hearing aids to help treat the damage to their inner ear.
Tips to Prevent Loss of Hearing
Around thirty-seven million American adults experience some type of hearing loss. Early detection is the key to early treatment when it comes to hearing loss. Knowing how to prevent hearing loss will help you to protect one of your most precious senses for years to come.
Avoid Loud Noises
Prolonged exposure to loud noises can have a significant impact on your hearing. If you are in a loud environment, consider measures to help protect your hearing. This may include headphones or earplugs.
Have Routine Check Ups
Visit an audiologist regularly to keep your hearing in check. Some issues are better treated if they are caught early. Staying on top of your hearing health will help your audiologist catch any symptoms that appear abnormal.
A professional audiologist can perform hearing tests and evaluations to assess your hearing loss and any treatment options that may be available to you. Proper ear care helps to improve your overall health and could help prevent other issues from developing down the road. If you notice symptoms of hearing loss, get in touch with a professional audiologist that can perform an evaluation.