Hearing Loss

If you are reading this, you or someone you care about probably has some level of hearing loss. For most people with hearing loss, the problem has developed gradually over a long period of time. Often, a family member or close friend will notice signs of hearing loss and suggest seeking help.

It is estimated that approximately 10% of the North American population, approximately 30 million people, has some degree of hearing loss. If you’re suffering from hearing loss, you’re not alone. As hearing loss develops, an individual will slowly lose his or her ability to communicate easily and effectively. This can lead to embarrassment and withdrawl in social environments, a decline in interpersonal relationships, difficulties and limitations in the workplace and in some cases, significant isolation from family and friends.

What Causes Hearing Loss?

Although other factors such as noise exposure, certain medications, heredity and eardrum and other outer and middle ear abnormalities can all play a part in contributing to hearing loss, the simple passage of time is the most common cause. Age-related hearing loss, called presbycusis, occurs primarily in individuals over the age of 50. Presbycusis is an example of sensorineural hearing loss

diagram of the anatomy of the ear
Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is a result of damage to the inner ear nerve cells. These cells are responsible for converting vibrations into nerve impulses that the brain interprets as sound. Sensorineural hearing loss is almost always permanent and cannot generally be restored through medical treatment. Most sensorineural hearing losses can only be addressed with amplification (hearing aids).

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs when  sound is prevented from getting to the inner ear. The ear canal, eardrum and middle ear bones are responsible for collecting and sending vibrations to the cochlea, the part of the inner ear which is responsible for converting those vibrations into nerve impulses which the brain interprets as sound. When the vibrations are not transmitted efficiently, a conductive hearing loss takes place. Some conductive hearing losses can be corrected with medical intervention while other conductive hearing losses will require amplification.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss.

Do You Need a Hearing Test?

Since hearing loss develops very gradually in most individuals, it’s easy to miss the signs and symptoms when it’s happening to you. Go through our quick checklist to see if any of these questions apply to you:

Do you ask people to repeat themselves often?
yes no

Do people seem to mumble when they speak to you?
yes no

Do family members or friends comment or complain that you struggle to hear their speech?
yes no

Do those around you notice that you have the television volume louder than normal?
yes no

Do you find yourself struggling in noisy listening environments?
yes no

Do you avoid certain social environments because you find it difficult to understand speech?
yes no

Do you find background noise bothersome or irritating?
yes no

Do you find yourself unusually fatigued after extended periods of social interaction?
yes no

Do you struggle with certain voices on the telephone?
yes no

Do you tend to miss the first few words of a sentence if someone starts to talk to you from the side or from behind?
yes no

Do you have a history of workplace, military or recreational noise exposure?
yes no

Do you have any unexplained noise (ringing/buzzing) in your ears or head?
yes no

Hearing test image

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, we recommend that you call us to make an appointment for a free consultation and hearing test. The road to better hearing may only involve employing a few simple communication strategies, or it may involve a discussion about hearing aids. Either way, we will discuss all of the options and give you our best advice and recommendations.