Hearing Loss

Beneficial Hearing Aid Center

Audiologists located in Ocala, FL

Hearing loss can affect many aspects of your life, from your career obligations to your interpersonal relationships with friends and family. For many men and women, coming to terms with hearing loss can be challenging. It’s not uncommon for people to spend years “working around” hearing loss before they seek help. It’s important to understand that there have been astounding improvements in hearing aid technology in recent years. Beneficial Hearing Aid Center has the most qualified professionals to treat hearing loss. Leigh Ann Watts, AUD, CCC-A, and Allison McMichael, AUD, offer assistive devices that can help you engage more fully with the world around you. If you or a loved one is suffering with hearing loss, and you aren’t sure where to turn for help, schedule an appointment online or call the Ocala, Florida, office today to explore available options.

Hearing Loss

What causes hearing loss?

There are different types of hearing loss, and determining the cause of your hearing problems is the first step in finding a solution. 

In some cases, damage to your inner ear or your auditory nerve can lead to hearing loss. This is called sensorineural hearing loss and is usually permanent. 

Another type of hearing loss is called conductive hearing loss. This occurs when something prevents sound waves from reaching your inner ear. Earwax buildup, fluid retention, or a punctured eardrum are causes of conductive hearing loss, and treatment can sometimes restore proper hearing function. 

Some men and women suffer sudden hearing loss, which can occur over a period of 1-3 days. This is a medical emergency, and you should seek immediate medical attention. 

More commonly, however, hearing loss is related to the aging process and occurs gradually. This type of hearing loss usually happens in both ears, and may have a genetic component. 

What can I do to cope with hearing loss?

Learning how to cope with hearing loss takes time and attention. Some tips that can make the process easier include:

  • Ask people to speak slowly and clearly, and suggest they move closer to you to help you hear.
  • Find the right environment for listening, which may be a quiet room or an indoor space. 
  • Pay close attention to the facial expressions and gestures of the person speaking to interpret meaning and context.
  • Let people know you have hearing loss.
  • Communicate when you have missed something or need something to be repeated. 

One of the most devastating effects of hearing loss is the social isolation many men and women experience. If you feel left out of what’s going on around you or have trouble communicating with others, explore professional options like hearing tests and hearing aids. 

What other tools can be used with hearing aids to improve quality of life?

Hearing aids have come a long way in recent years, so don’t discount the improvements that are available from a great set of hearing aids. There are other tools that can help improve your daily quality of life. 

Numerous assistive-listening devices are currently available, giving men and women with hearing loss many more options than their parents or grandparents had. 

Some examples include mobile apps and alerting devices that work in conjunction with your doorbell, alarm clock, or smoke detectors. 

Some of these tools use light to alert you, while others vibrate to get your attention. You can also organize your home in a way that accommodates hearing loss. 

Wireless speakers come in all sizes and price ranges and can help you hear the radio or television throughout your home. You can even route phone calls through most speakers. 

If you have questions about how to improve your hearing loss, schedule a visit at Beneficial Hearing Aid Center today. Online scheduling is available, or you can always call or stop by the office to set up a visit.   

What are the different types of hearing loss?

Hearing loss can be experienced in varying degrees, such as mild, moderate, moderately-severe, severe or profound. Additionally, this loss can also vary depending on pitches or frequencies. A series of hearing tests can determine the amount of loss you experience compared to an average of many other adult listeners with typical hearing.

The volume of sounds you hear is measured in decibels (dB), 15-20 dB being the softest whisper and 120 dB being a jet engine. The softest sounds one can hear are called thresholds. Normal hearing thresholds for adults are considered 0-25 dB across the range of frequencies tested. Speech testing is also conducted as a part of this series of evaluations and helps to assess the levels of particular words you can hear clearly. These tests can help determine the type of hearing loss you’re experiencing, which can be categorized conductive, sensorineural or mixed.

Conductive hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the way sound is conducted to the inner ear or cochlea. The problem may lie in the outer ear (pinna or ear canal), eardrum (tympanic membrane) or the middle ear (ossicles and Eustachian tube). The inner ear and auditory nerve remain unaffected in this type of hearing loss.

Some causes of conductive hearing loss can include outer or middle ear infections, complete earwax blockage, deterioration of the middle ear bones (ossicles), fixation of the ossicles (otosclerosis), a hole in the tympanic membrane or absence of the outer ear or middle ear structures.

Conductive hearing losses may be temporary or permanent, depending on the source of the problem. Medical management can correct some cases of conductive hearing loss, while amplification (hearing aids) may be a recommended treatment option in more long-standing or permanent cases.

Individuals with conductive hearing loss may report that sounds are muffled or quiet. Generally, when sounds are made louder, these individuals can hear well again.

Sensorineural hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the sensory receptors of the hearing system, specifically in the cochlea or auditory nerve of the inner ear. The majority of sensorineural hearing loss occurs as a result of an abnormality or damage to the hair cells in the cochlea. This abnormality prevents sound from being transmitted to the brain normally, resulting in a hearing loss.

The hair cells may have been abnormal since birth (congenital), damaged as a result of genetics, infection, drugs, trauma or over-exposure to noise (late-onset or acquired) or damaged as a result of the aging process, a kind of hearing loss known as presbycusis.

Sensorineural hearing losses are generally permanent and some remain stable over time while others worsen. Therefore, routine hearing tests are needed to monitor the hearing loss. Treatment options, including hearing aids or cochlear implants in the most severe cases, are common recommendations.

Individuals with sensorineural hearing loss may report muffled speech, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), difficulty hearing in background noise or that others do not speak clearly.

Mixed hearing loss

Mixed hearing loss occurs when a person has a sensorineural hearing loss in combination with a conductive hearing loss. It is, very literally, a mix of sensorineural and conductive hearing losses. This means there is a problem in the inner ear as well as in the outer or middle ear. The conductive hearing loss may be temporary or permanent, depending on the source of the problem.

Mixed hearing loss can sometimes be treated with medical management and hearing aids are a common treatment recommendation.