FAQs About Hearing Loss
Approaching an upcoming hearing test can make you feel a little anxious. But this is a major and important step towards prioritizing your hearing health and wellness. Hearing loss is one of the most common medical conditions people experience today. Though it impacts 1 in 6 people, it is often widely undertreated. Getting your hearing tested is a key way to support your hearing by understanding what your hearing needs are. It is also a great opportunity to discuss the specifics of your hearing needs with a hearing healthcare expert who is equipped with ample knowledge and experience. To feel better prepared and ready for your appointment, here are a few questions you can ask to get the most out of your appointment:
1. Is all hearing loss the same? There are three different types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive, and mixed. The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural which accounts for up to 90% of the hearing loss that people experience today. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when sensory cells in the inner ear are damaged. This causes permanent hearing loss that is most commonly treated with hearing aids. It is important to know the type of hearing loss you have as well as the degree of impairment which is all identified through a hearing test.
2. Can hearing loss be different in each ear? It is also useful to know that hearing loss can differ from one ear to the other. Sensorineural hearing loss can be unilateral or bilateral. Unilateral hearing loss is hearing loss that only affects one year whereas bilateral hearing loss in both ears. Hearing loss can range from mild to profound and the degree of impairment in each ear can also differ. When hearing loss is the same in both ears, this is described as symmetrical bilateral hearing loss. Asymmetrical bilateral hearing loss describes different degrees of hearing loss in the ears.
3. What are the most common symptoms of hearing loss? It is important to be able to recognize early signs of hearing loss so you can intervene early by seeking treatment. Common signs include:
Tinnitus: a buzzing or ringing like noise in one or both ears.
Sounds are slurred or muffled.
Difficulty hearing in environments with background noise (restaurants, parties).
Frequently asking others to repeat themselves, speak louder, and/or slower.
Increasing the volume on the TV or other electronic devices.
Lip reading to help distinguish individual words.
Hearing more clearly out of one ear compared to the other.
Feeling confused or lost during conversations.
These symptoms can be mild to more severe depending on the degree of hearing loss
you are experiencing. Social withdrawal is a common effect and symptoms of untreated
hearing loss as well. So if you notice that you are spending less time with others,
avoiding social conversations, and skipping out on activities - these are also signs that
indicate hearing loss.
4. How is hearing loss treated? The most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids. These are electronic devices that are designed to absorb, amplogy, and process speech as well as sound. This provides the ears and brain with ample support, making it easier to hear and alleviating hearing loss symptoms.
5. Are two hearing aids necessary? Hearing healthcare providers often recommend two hearing aids to best support your hearing in everyday environments. Research also shows that two hearing aids allows both ears to participate in hearing which provides the brain with more auditory information. This includes greater access to sound localization and sound quality.
6. How long do hearing aids last? Hearing aids are built to last and are highly durable. They can last up to 7 years, depending on the model and type. There are ways you can contribute to your device’s longevity including by getting them professionally serviced, repaired when needed, adn cleaning them regularly.
7. How are hearing aids best maintained? It is important to develop a maintenance routine for your hearing aids which you can discuss with your hearing healthcare provider. This should include using a soft and dry cloth to thoroughly wipe down your device and storing them in a room temperature environment overnight. There are various supplies you can use adn invest in to best keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
Contact us today to learn more about hearing loss and the resources available to help you prioritize your hearing health.