Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss Q & A

What causes hearing loss?

Most hearing loss falls into 1 of 4 categories. These are:

  • Sensorineural hearing loss: This hearing loss happens when the cochlea in the inner ear or the nerve from the inner ear to the brain is damaged. This is typically permanent.
  • Conductive hearing loss: Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not transmitted through the outer or middle ear and therefore doesn't reach the inner ear. Wax or fluid buildup as well as damage to the outer or middle ear both cause this problem.
  • Mixed hearing loss:This type is a mixture of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
  • Noise-induced hearing loss: Exposure to loud, harmful noises can cause this form of hearing loss. In most instances this hearing loss is permanent, because damage to the hair cells on the inner ear is the underlying cause.

What are the risk factors of hearing loss?

People who work around loud noises or who regularly listen to music and other media using headphones or earbuds are at risk. Genetics also be a risk factor for hearing loss.

How can someone tell if they have hearing loss?

A hearing test is the best way to check for hearing loss. However, individuals may notice that other people tell them that they don't listen or hear well. This is often a warning sign. Also, if you feel that people around you “mumble”, that is a sign you might have a loss. Unfortunately, most cases of hearing loss worsen very slowly over time leading to the person with the loss “getting used to it”. Long term hearing loss can lead to changes in the brain and decreased understanding of speech, so early diagnosis is very important.

What does a hearing test entail?

After a thorough questioning about lifestyle and hearing concerns, Dr. Astrachan or Dr. Hecht gives each patient a comprehensive hearing screening that determines not only if they have hearing loss, but also at what severity. This screening involves a number of tests, including hearing tests and computerized hearing assessments, to determine the level of loss.

Is hearing loss permanent?

Many types of hearing loss are permanent, but some aren't. Hearing loss due to fluid or an obstruction in the ear may be treatable. If it's due to damage and caught early, it also may be treatable. Otherwise, it may be permanent. Hearing aids can help to restore hearing and allow an individual with hearing loss to enjoy a much more normal lifestyle. Talk to the team at Ear Nose and Throat Specialists of Connecticut for more information about hearing aids.

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