Helping the people of New Jersey manage their hearing loss.
What is Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss is a common condition, affecting approximately 48 million Americans. Hearing loss is the inability to hear sounds in one or both ears. Many people who have hearing loss can hear sounds, they just lack the clarity to clearly understand speech or they can’t recognize where a sound is coming from.
Sensorineural hearing loss – the most common type of hearing loss – is often the result of age. However, there are other causes that can lead to this type of hearing loss, including:
- Certain medications
- Loud noise exposure
- Head or ear trauma
- Meniere’s disease
Signs of Hearing Loss
For many people, hearing loss occurs gradually, over the course of a few years. Because of this, you may not even realize you are missing certain sounds because you have become accustomed to not hearing them. If you have experienced a combination of the following, you may have hearing loss and should come in for a hearing check.
- People seem to mumble all the time
- You have difficulty hearing people talk when there is background noise (such as a restaurant)
- You often ask people to repeat themselves
- It’s hard to follow conversations
- You have trouble hearing when the speaker isn’t facing you
- You feel overwhelmed at large gatherings
- You hear a ringing in your ears (tinnitus)
- You have a family history of hearing loss
- A loved one suggested you have your hearing checked
Hearing and Brain Health
Hearing plays a major role in your brain health. In fact, we don’t hear with our ears, we hear when sound travels through the ears up to the auditory cortex of the brain. Hearing provides the brain with the necessary stimulation it needs to stay active and healthy. When left untreated, hearing loss can cause your brain to work harder to hear certain sounds, this can leave you feeling fatigued, forgetful, and can lead to a decline in your cognitive abilities.
The best way to keep your brain healthy if you have hearing loss is to wear hearing aids. Hearing aids will help you hear the sounds you have been missing and will give you the confidence to rejoin the conversation. Contact us today to learn more about the different hearing aid options we carry.
Health Conditions Connected to Hearing Loss
Hearing loss isn’t always a sign of age or ear related trauma. Sometimes, hearing loss is caused by another underlying health condition. Heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes can all cause hearing loss because of the effect they have on your blood vessels. When the blood vessels in your body swell due to one of these conditions, the tiny blood vessels in your ears will also swell. This can lead to difficulty hearing.
If you have started experiencing problems with your hearing, it’s important to not only have your hearing checked, but to visit your primary physician to ensure your overall health is in line. Being proactive is the best way to prevent hearing loss from worsening and affecting your overall well-being.
Types of Hearing Loss
There are three main types of hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common, affecting approximately 90%-95% of hearing aid wearers. This type of hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the cochlea or the hearing nerve. This can also occur naturally due to old age. Sensorineural hearing loss can be successfully managed with hearing aids.
Conductive hearing loss happens when sounds are not transmitted or conducted properly through the ear canal, eardrum, and middle ear. This type of hearing loss is caused by ear infection, earwax impaction, fluid in the middle ear, ruptured eardrum, or trauma to the head. Conductive hearing loss is treated medically or with antibiotics.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive losses. First the conductive portion would need to be treated and then hearing aids would manage the sensorineural portion.