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Hearing Health at Audiology and Hearing Associates
Hearing loss is extremely common, in fact, over 48 million people in the United States has some degree of hearing loss. At Audiology and Hearing Associates, our goal is to educate our patients on what hearing loss is, how it works, what hearing aids can do for you, and what you can expect from your hearing solution. Overall, better hearing means you will have better health. Your hearing is connected to your health and well-being, that’s why it is so important to take care of your ears. Better hearing means you will be able to better communicate with the people you love. This can lead to spending more time with friends and family, feeling more energized, and enjoying your life to the fullest. Hearing is a crucial part of your well-being, don’t let hearing loss affect your health.
What Are the Signs of Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss often occurs gradually, over a long period of time. Some people don’t identify the signs of hearing loss right away because they lost their hearing over the course of a few years. Often times, a spouse or family member will be the first one to notice that you have a hearing loss. This is why we encourage patients to bring a loved one with them to their first appointment, so we can discus how hearing loss has affected your communication.
Common signs of hearing loss:
- You have to turn the TV up louder in order to understand
- It seems like people in your life mumble
- You ask people to repeat themselves on a regular basis
- You have a difficult time hearing when there is background noise (such as when you are in a restaurant)
- You feel tired after a conversation
- You spend less time with loved ones because it’s harder to hold a conversation than it used to be
If any of these sounds familiar, it might be time to get your hearing checked. It’s important to be proactive about your hearing health and schedule a hearing exam, so we can catch any signs of hearing loss early. Early prevention is crucial to preserving your speech comprehension and hearing ability.
Hearing and Your Brain
Hearing is connected to our overall health and well-being. This is because we don’t hear when sound reaches the ear, but when sound reaches the auditory cortex of the brain. Our ears are just the collector of sound, the hearing process happens inside the brain. When sound is transferred through the ear to the brain, it is then transformed into information. That information is then stored as memory. When you have hearing loss, your brain misses out on certain sounds and frequencies that it needs to stay active and healthy. When hearing loss is left untreated, then your brain doesn’t receive the proper stimulation it needs and often has to work harder just to hear the little it can. This often results in feelings of fatigue or exhaustion after social interactions. This can lead to social isolation because you feel too tired to socialize with other people or you may feel embarrassed because you can’t hear the conversation well. Over time, this can lead to cognitive decline and even dementia. Studies have proven there is a link between hearing loss and dementia. In fact, the risk of dementia increases by 36% for those who have a hearing loss that is greater than 25dB. Adults over the age of 60 who have moderate-to-severe hearing loss have a higher risk of experiencing dementia or even Alzheimer’s. There is good news though. Hearing aids can effectively manage your hearing loss and provide the brain with the proper stimulation it needs to remain active and healthy. Hearing aids will help you to hear sounds and frequencies you couldn’t before. They will also give you the confidence to engage with other people and be a part of the conversation again. Don’t let hearing loss keep you from being with the ones you love. Call us today to schedule an appointment and discover how hearing aids can help you hear – and feel – your best.
Types of Hearing Loss and Causes
There are four main types of hearing loss, sensorineural, conductive, mixed, and noise-induced hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear or the nerve that leads from the ear to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by injury, aging, infection, noise exposure, medications, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, or stroke. This type of hearing loss responds well to hearing aids as a treatment option.
Conductive hearing loss is when there is a problem conducting sound along the route from the outer ear to the inner ear. This can be caused by earwax build-up, perforation of the eardrum, infection, dislocation of the bones in the middle ear, or tumors. Conductive hearing loss can be treated with medical intervention.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing losses. First, the conductive portion will need to be treated medically, then the sensorineural portion can be managed with hearing aids.
Noise-induced hearing loss is very common and affects children, teenagers, and adults who are exposed to harmful noises. Noise-induced hearing loss can happen after only one time of being around an intense “impulse” sound, such as an explosion, or it can be the result of repeated exposure to loud sounds over time. Damaging noise levels in work environments are a growing concern. Wearing hearing protection is the best way to be proactive against noise-induced hearing loss.