Hearing loss is a prevalent condition that can affect people of all ages. This condition can be caused by different factors, including aging, exposure to loud noises, genetics, infections, and certain medications (ototoxic meds).
Many people are unaware of or unfamiliar with the type of hearing loss they have and what steps they should take to manage it. In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of hearing loss, the various ways to address them, and why it’s essential to consult an audiologist.
There are three main types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive, and mixed.
Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) manifests when there is damage to the fragile hair cells in the inner ear or the auditory nerve that is responsible for connecting the inner ear to the brain. Aging, exposure to loud noises, and certain medical conditions are the usual causes of sensorineural hearing loss. SNHL loss cannot be cured or reversed. However, it can be managed with hearing aids, assistive listening devices, or cochlear implants.
Conductive hearing loss develops when an obstruction in the middle or outer ear prevents the sound waves from reaching the inner ear. This can be caused by a perforated eardrum, earwax buildup, or fluid in the middle ear. Conductive hearing loss can often be addressed with medical or surgical treatment.
As its name suggests, mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. If you are diagnosed with mixed hearing loss, it means that there is damage to both your outer or middle ear and the auditory nerve or inner ear.
Hearing loss can affect people of all ages. It is a common notion that older adults eventually lose their hearing with age, but according to the World Health Organization, approximately 1.1 billion young people are at risk of hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises. In short, anyone is susceptible to hearing loss.
If you suspect that you or a loved one may have hearing loss, it’s important to consult an audiologist as soon as possible. An audiologist is trained and licensed to perform hearing tests, evaluate your hearing, and recommend appropriate interventions. Audiologists are equipped to perform various tests to determine the exact type and severity of your hearing loss and develop a personalized treatment plan based on your test results.
Working with an audiologist is essential because they are trained and knowledgeable in diagnosing and treating hearing and balance disorders. Keep in mind that untreated hearing loss can have a significant impact on your overall mental, social, and emotional health.
Several studies have shown that hearing loss is linked to social isolation, cognitive decline, and an increased risk of falls. By consulting with an audiologist and addressing hearing loss early on, you can prevent these negative outcomes and avoid experiencing problems in communication and other daily tasks and activities.
In addition to consulting with an audiologist, there are also steps you can take to protect the integrity of your hearing and lessen your risk of hearing loss.
Make sure to wear proper hearing protection (earplugs or earmuffs) in loud environments. Limit your exposure to loud noises, and take breaks from activities that expose you to loud sounds.
If you feel that you may be experiencing hearing loss, please consult an audiologist right away. Intervention methods for hearing loss are not made equal; the treatment will depend on your specific type of hearing loss, which is why it is very important to get an accurate diagnosis.
Audiologists at Ontario Hearing Centers can get you the help you need to manage your hearing loss and improve your overall quality of life.
Schedule an appointment with an audiologist in Rochester, NY, today!