When we are young, our ability to hear is never really thought about. It’s just something we do and sound is everywhere in our daily lives.
Yet, when patients come to me with a suspected hearing loss, the thought of losing their hearing is often accompanied by worry and stress. Changes in their hearing make patients realize how important and precious good hearing is and they want to know what the solution is for their hearing loss.
However, before any treatment can begin, I must fully investigate and identify the cause because there are different treatments available depending on the type of hearing loss a patient has.
Understanding The Causes
Most patients will be diagnosed with either conductive hearing loss or sensorineural hearing loss. The difference between them is the location where sound waves stop making their way to the brain. With conductive hearing loss, this usually occurs within the outer or middle ear, while with sensorineural hearing loss, it occurs within the inner ear.
Conductive hearing loss is usually caused by a blockage in the outer or middle ear. This could be excessive earwax, fluid from an infection, or it can be more complicated and be a result of genetics, a head injury, or poor health. Conductive hearing loss can occur at any age.
Sensorineural hearing loss happens when the tiny hairs located inside the cochlea, a fluid-filled, snail-like shaped organ, become damaged and they can no longer transmit sound signals to the brain. Aging is a very common cause – hearing deterioration is a gradual process and this is why it usually occurs in patients over the age of 50.
This doesn’t mean that younger patients can’t develop it, though. Other causes include prolonged exposure to loud noises or toxins as well as genetics, head injury, or illnesses.
What Should You Do?
Untreated hearing loss can continue to deteriorate and the longer it is left untreated, the more difficult it is to treat when help is finally sought. If you are worried or concerned about your hearing, I encourage you to make an appointment for a hearing test. I will determine which type of hearing loss you have, and together we will create a long-term plan to ensure your hearing health performs at its best.
To begin your journey to better hearing, simply contact me at Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates by calling (541) 612-7555 or clicking here.