Hearing loss can affect anyone, at any point during a person’s life. It affects different people to varying degrees and for different reasons. It can be triggered by a number of factors including exposure to loud sounds, certain medications, and illnesses including diabetes and heart disease as well as the normal aging process.
Because the loss typically develops gradually, you may not notice the decline of subtle everyday sounds such as a ticking clock, the rustling of a newspaper, or birds chirping. Before you realize it, you are also missing sounds critical to effective communication and it begins to sound as though most people mumble. It may gradually become harder to understand clearly in restaurants, meetings,and other social functions like church, as well as one-on-one interactions.
Living with untreated loss means difficulties in conversations with loved ones, at social gatherings, and work settings. Untreated, hearing loss makes it challenging to keep up with everyday situations. Treatment can lead to a better quality of life by improving personal relationships, reducing anger and frustration and avoiding isolation. To find out the nature and degree of your loss set an appointment to see one of our expert providers for a hearing evaluation.
Hearing loss is generally categorized by location—that is, what part of the ear is damaged—as well as by severity. There are three main types of loss: conductive, sensorineural, and a combination of both, known as mixed hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss is a result of sound waves being blocked from entering the outer and /or middle ear space. When sound waves are blocked, possibly from ear wax or other types of obstructions, sound energy is prohibited from reaching the inner ear which is still functioning properly. Conductive hearing loss can frequently be treated with medication or surgery. Conductive hearing lossin adults is much less common than with children.
Sensorineural hearing loss results from damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or the nerve pathways that transmit sound information to the brain. The normal aging process and exposure to loud noise can lead to sensorineural loss. Generally, sensorineural loss cannot be reversed and is not treatable with surgery or medication – but it can be improved greatly and effectively with hearing aids.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is generally considered a form of or a sub-category of sensorineural loss. This is one of the most common types of loss, and, fortunately, it is also the most preventable. Onset is gradual, painless, and frequently undetectable until significant hearing loss has occurred.
Mixed hearing loss is the combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, which can involve damage in the outer, middle, and inner ear simultaneously.
If you or a loved one are suspecting or experiencing hearing difficulties including hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears), please contact our office at 713-960-4067. Together we can discuss the difficulties you are experiencing, address your concerns, and determine what solutions are available to best suit your needs.