HEARING LOSS

What are the different kinds of hearing loss?

There are three types of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural, and mixed hearing loss.

Conductive hearing loss occurs from loss of sound sensitivity resulting from abnormalities of the middle and/or outer ear. The auditory nerve’s function is still normal, the sound is just impeded from getting to the inner ear. This type of loss is common in children with ear infections; once the infection is cleared up, the hearing is restored.

Sensorineural hearing loss results from abnormalities of the inner ear and/or nerve paths to the brain. The auditory cells and nerve are permanently damaged. This is the type of hearing loss often referred to as “nerve deafness”.

Mixed hearing losses are those that have symptoms of both conductive and sensorineural hearing losses.

Does earwax cause hearing loss?

It is possible for earwax to build up and partially or completely occlude (obstruct) the ear canal.  Each individual person creates a different amount of wax.  Earwax or cerumen is an oily, fatty substance that is created to protect the ear canal.  A buildup of wax can result in typically a mild to moderate conductive hearing loss.  Once the wax is removed, the hearing is restored.

At Hearing Partners of South Florida, we can let you know if you have a wax buildup and how it can be removed.

What are the statistics of hearing loss?
An estimated 28 million people suffer from hearing loss. Hearing loss is present in 3 out of every 10 adults between the ages of 50 and 64 and 4 out of every 10 adults ages 65 and over.
What are some symptoms of hearing loss?
  • Others complain you have the television too loud
  • You have problems hearing birds or wind
  • You have difficulty hearing female voices or children
  • You have difficulty hearing in groups
  • You find yourself confusing words or making silly mistakes misunderstanding conversations
  • Other people, or family members, think you have a hearing loss
What symptoms indicate the need for a medical evaluation?
  • Bleeding/draining from your ears
  • Head trauma
  • Sudden hearing loss
  • Balance problems
  • Ear pain
  • Fluctuating hearing loss
  • Ringing in ears
  • Feeling of fullness or pressure in ears
What is the ringing in my head/ears?
The ringing sensation that can be detected in your head, or individual ears, is called tinnitus.This ringing is usually an indication of some damage to your auditory system (especially noise damage). It can be constant or periodic and on one specific side or in the middle of your head.There is no magic cure for tinnitus, but there are methods that can help you live with it. Sometimes hearing aids help by bringing more sound to the brain, thus distracting attention from the ringing. If you have ringing consistently on one side, you will want to ask your doctor about it. Click here to learn more about tinnitus.
What are some causes of hearing loss?
  • Noise exposure (military, hunting, music, industrial, racing, power saws, lawn mowers)
  • Heredity
  • Certain chemotherapy and radiation treatments
  • Certain heavy-duty antibiotics
  • Head trauma
  • Wax
  • Ear infections
  • Viral infections
Is there anything I can do to restore my hearing?
Usually hearing loss is permanent. Consult with your doctor to see if your symptoms are medical in nature and need any treatment, especially if you have a sudden hearing loss. Even hearing instruments will not restore normal hearing. Hearing instruments will make previously missed sounds available at the level of stimulation your auditory system needs at that particular pitch.
Why do I only have difficulty hearing in crowds?
If you have difficulty hearing in crowds, you could have a high-frequency hearing loss. With this type of loss you can hear well in one-on-one situations and even in small groups. However, when you are exposed to distracting speech/noise, you can hear the noise louder than the speech. Your normal low-frequency hearing picks up the low-pitched noise at a normal-hearing level, while you miss some of the high-frequency speech sounds, where your hearing loss is located, that bring in clarity. This hearing loss is not as noticeable when speaking with someone without any competing noise.
Why do I have a difficult time hearing female voices when I can hear male voices easily?
You may have a high-frequency hearing loss. Female voices, children’s voices, and even a majority of speech understanding lies in the high frequencies.  You may hear the low frequency sounds normally but miss the high frequency sounds.
I don't have a problem hearing but I have a problem understanding.
Hearing and understanding are two different things. It is possible to hear something and not understand. This may be due to a high-frequency hearing loss. Most consonant sounds are high in pitch and bring clarity to speech. They help you discriminate between different words (i.e.. pick, tick, brick, lick, sick). If you have a high-frequency hearing loss, you miss the consonant clarity sounds while hearing the volume from the low pitches.

HEARING AIDS

Will wearing a hearing aid restore my hearing to normal?
Hearing aids are exactly as the name implies, aids. They will not restore your hearing to normal, but they will make most sounds available to you at your hearing level. Research shows that a large majority of aidable hearing loss can be helped with hearing aids.
Do I need two hearing instruments?
If you have a hearing loss in both ears it is recommended that you wear a hearing instrument in each ear. You can hear better out of two good ears rather than one.Some of the benefits of hearing with two ears are…
  • With equal inputs coming from both sides to the brain, it is easier to understand conversation.
  • With good hearing in both ears, it is easier to determine the direction, or source, of sound.
  • When you hear well out of two ears, it boosts the loudness of the signal.
  • Two good ears hear better in noise than one.
Is there a hearing aid that can eliminate background noise?
Most of the time, background noise is speech, which is the exact same signal that the hearing aid is trying to amplify. Some hearing instruments can lessen the effects of a non-speech noise while some hearing instruments can boost the sounds in front of you while decreasing those behind you. This second method works well when you are facing the speaker you want to hear and when you have your back to noise you do not want to hear. This effect is referred to as directionality.
What is the "best" hearing instrument on the market?
There is not one “best” hearing instrument on the market. A hearing instrument that works well for one individual may not produce the same results for someone else since everyone has different listening needs. Each major manufacturer makes a product that is highly comparable to other manufacturer’s product.
How do I know what hearing aid I need?
Hearing instruments are available in a wide variety of styles.  Selection depends upon your personal preference, your ear canal size, and your level of hearing loss.  The audiologists at Hearing Partners will find the best style and type of instrument for you.  Today’s technology has made it possible for hearing instruments to be small enough to fit inside your ear canal.  This means no one has to know you are wearing a hearing device.  For more information click here to visit our hearing aids page.
My friend did not have a positive experience with hearing aids, will the same thing happen to me?
Everyone’s hearing loss is unique. Although someone you know may have had a negative experience with hearing instruments, you may not have the same experience. Hearing aids and technology vary. Do not base your hearing healthcare upon what someone else experiences.
Do hearing instruments need repair?
Hearing aids are exposed to a damp and waxy environment on a daily basis. Because of this, and normal wear and tear, you can expect to face a repair or two during the life span of your hearing instrument.If your hearing instrument is being repaired more than you are able to use it, then it may be time to consider new instruments.
How long does it take to adjust to new hearing instruments?
You should notice results within minutes, but it may take several months to completely realize the benefits of your new hearing instruments. A person’s hearing tends to deteriorate gradually over time, so when sounds are reintroduced to the brain in a 30-minute fitting session, it can be overwhelming. The brain may have to relearn the classification of some sounds.
Whose responsibility is rehabilitation?
Successful rehabilitation depends upon you, your hearing professional, and your support group. It is very important that you communicate openly with us and that you understand realistic expectations of hearing instruments.Also, it is very important to receive support from your friends and family members. Discuss your experience with them and explain your need for their encouragement and understanding. Hearing aids do not always give immediate results. They may require technical adjustments along with determination and patience on your part.
Can I afford a hearing aid?
  • We offer Deferred Interest Payment Plans.
  • We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.
  • We offer a battery club to save our patients on the cost of batteries.
  • Speak with us regarding your needs and what you are able to afford. We offer a wide range of products to fit each individual’s hearing loss and budget.
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