How can I determine whether I have hearing loss?
A 30 million Americans have experienced hearing loss. There are several different tests that can determine the cause and extent.
Our practitioners strive to provide excellence in patient care in a comfortable and caring atmosphere by establishing lifetime relationships with our patients.
Luckily, for most, modern technological advances in Hearing Science have improved the quality of life for many individuals. For many, hearing test provided by a trained hearing health specialist is the first step in rehabilitating their communication ability and reuniting them with their world.
Here are some of the most common questions and answers we’ve encountered concerning hearing loss and hearing tests.
There are three main sections of the ear - the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. Each section has a unique function that converts sound waves into electrical impulses that can be processed and interpreted by the brain. The outer ear receives the sound waves and guides them toward to the middle ear. The middle ear amplifies the sound vibrations and sends them to the inner ear. The inner ear transforms the vibrations into electrical impulses which are carried through the auditory nerve to the brain.
Although there are many types of hearing loss, the most common type is sensorineural loss, and the second most common type of loss is conductive loss. There are three types of hearing loss we encounter most frequently:
Conductive Loss - is caused by damage to the outer or middle ear. Sound waves are blocked as they move through the outer or middle ear. Since the sound cannot travel effectively, the sound energy reaching the inner ear is weakened or muffled. Conductive loss may result from infection, earwax buildup, fluid in the middle ear, damage to the middle ear bones, a perforation in the eardrum or an obstruction in the ear canal. This type of loss is usually treated with earwax removal, medicine or surgery.
Signs & Symptoms of Conductive Loss:
Sensorineural Loss - (also known as "nerve deafness") is caused by damage to the hair cells in the inner ear. The inner ear is unable to transfer the sound vibrations to the brain and it usually occurs in both ears. It is the most common type of loss and it can result from aging, noise exposure, disease, birth defects and nerve damage. This type of loss is usually treated with amplification (hearing devices).
Signs & Symptoms of Sensorineural Loss:
Mixed Loss- is caused by damage to the outer or middle ear and the inner ear. It is the combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing losses.
Signs & Symptoms of Mixed Loss:
Early recognition and treatment of a hearing loss is critical. If you suspect you have a loss, have your hearing evaluated by a hearing care professional. They will guide you through the painless process of determining first if you have a loss, and if so, then finding the solution that is best for you. The hearing health specialist will inspect your ears to ensure there are no underlying medical conditions. They'll measure and determine the extent of your hearing ability, both in quiet and noisy situations. Then he or she will have a clear understanding of your hearing loss.
The following assessments are typically part of the hearing evaluation:
The human hearing mechanism processes sound through both mechanical (outer and middle ear) and electrical (inner ear) systems. A thorough hearing screening evaluates both of these systems independently.
Visual inspection of the ear canal with an otoscope or video otoscope can reveal obstructions or wax blockages. Air and bone conduction tests are used to reveal the source and severity of a possible hearing loss.
The advent of the Video Otoscope has allowed us an opportunity to view structural images of the outer ear and eardrum in much greater detail. A video camera is mounted inside an otoscope and displays images of the ear canal and eardrum on a large video monitor. In this way, both the patient and hearing healthcare specialist can view the patient's ear together and note any obstructions, such as earwax.
Tinnitus and Vestibular Balance Testing
Persistent ringing in your ears? Feeling dizzy? Several of our Avada locations also provide tinnitus and balance testing for those suffering from dizziness and/or ringing in the ears. These tests help determine if any components of the hearing or vestibular system are not functioning normally.
Speech testing determines a patient's tolerance to loud sounds as well as their ability to hear and understand amplified speech. A small percentage of individuals require further, more detailed testing. This test involves listening to and responding to speech in the form of words or sentences, with and without everyday background noise. This allows your hearing care professional analyze and detect your ability to discriminate and comprehend speech.
Testing equipment is used to measure various levels of sounds (tones/pitches) usually found in everyday conversation. You will be asked to raise your hand or press a button each time you hear these sounds. Based on your responses, your hearing care specialist will determine the type and degree of loss you may have.
Various tests are performed to measure the middle ear's ability to transfer sound. (NOTE: These tests are not required by all state licensing regulatory boards & may not be available at all Avada locations.) Back to Top
Hearing aids unfortunately cannot reverse speech understanding loss. Avada offers Patient-Family Counseling for those suffering from speech understanding loss.
Living with a person who has a speech understanding loss can sometimes be a difficult challenge. However, learning certain communication techniques can be of great help. Avada encourages family members or loved ones to join our patients for each appointment. Often times, they can help our hearing healthcare providers understand and assess each patient on a more personal level.
Here are some tips to help communicate better with a loved one with speech understanding loss:
Over 30 million Americans have some type of hearing loss. According to the office of Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), another 30 million are at risk due to hazardous noise levels in their everyday lives!
Good hearing health is critical for an overall sense of well-being. It impacts the quality of life, communication abilities and connectedness to a world filled with sound. Noise-induced hearing loss is a leading cause of permanent sensorineural hearing loss, yet it can be prevented with proper education and listening habits.
These Steps to Protect Your Hearing can help you conserve your hearing and enjoy life to its fullest.
Steps to Protect Your Hearing
*OSHA Healthstyles Survey, 1998
An annual hearing test performed by a licensed hearing healthcare provider is the best way to monitor personal hearing health. If you are exposed to high levels of sound on a regular basis, you should schedule a hearing assessment at least once a year. A hearing health specialist can help identify changes in your hearing ability and provide consultation and recommendations. Back to Top
Most hearing loss occurs when people age. However, it can result from over-exposure to noise, infections, trauma, congenital or hereditary factors, medications or other causes. About 90% of all cases of hearing loss can be corrected with hearing instruments.
There are over 30 million Americans with some type of hearing loss. Hearing is an integral part of the human experience and when it is diminished, it affects all aspects of that experience. If you are uncertain whether or not you may have a hearing loss, we invite you to take our 5-Minute Speech Understanding Test. It may help you decide whether or not you need to take additional steps necessary for amplification.
Warning Signs of Hearing Loss
Yes, a hearing checkup only takes a few minutes. Without this information, it is impossible to make an informed decision about recommendations for you. When a hearing instrument is indicated, you need a hearing checkup to determine the appropriate model and circuitry. If you don't have a problem, we'll be the first to tell you! So, don't delay your hearing. NOW is the time to get back into life! To schedule your free hearing evaluation and private consultation, click here. It's simple. It's painless. And best of all, it's FREE!
If you suspect you may have a hearing loss, you should immediately seek professional care from a licensed hearing healthcare specialist. It's simple, painless and best of all, it's FREE! Schedule your free hearing screening and private consultation today. Back to Top