Understanding the Levels of Hearing Loss and Treatments for Each
Hearing loss is generally described as a partial or total inability to hear sounds or noises and can occur suddenly, e.g., noise-induced hearing loss, or gradually with age. This condition can occur in children, teenagers, younger adults, and even infants. Loss of hearing can make it difficult for you to communicate or respond within your environment.
However, if you suffer from hearing loss, it's not the end of the world. The team at North Shore Hearing P.C. offer several innovative solutions designed to help restore your ability to experience the world. Best of all, we offer free hearing screenings and consultations, so you can know where you stand. Continue reading to learn more about the different levels of hearing loss and treatments for each.
How Common is Hearing Loss?
According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, about 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 infants in the US are born with a detectable degree of hearing loss (congenital) affecting one or both ears. Additionally, about 15 percent (37.5 million) of adults in the US 18 and older report a degree of hearing trouble. Besides being born with a reduced ability to hear, earwax buildup or blockage, ear infection, ruptured eardrum, and long-term exposure to noise commonly cause loss of hearing.
Types of Hearing Loss
Levels of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss could be temporary or permanent. The different hearing loss levels listed below are based on speech or sound frequencies used to measure how well you hear. The severity of the loss is usually measured from your better ear using the decibels hearing loss level (dBHL) range which is influenced by the amount of inner or outer hair loss in the ear:
When to Test Your Hearing
If you are experiencing any of the following signs in one or both ears, it may be time to see your audiologist:
How is Hearing Loss Diagnosed?
Hearing loss is an invisible condition that can only be properly diagnosed by doing a comprehensive hearing screening. The audiologist will do various tests to measure how much sounds you or your child hear. You may have to listen to speech sounds or pure sounds in one or both ears. The results are then indicated on a chart called an audiogram. Screening also helps to determine the type of hearing loss present and whether hearing aids or other treatments are necessary.
Hearing Loss Treatment
Treatment will depend on the type and level of loss you are diagnosed with but could include:
Clearing earwax blockage: Blockage due to earwax causes only a temporary loss in hearing. Your doctor may use a suction method or a small tool to remove the earwax causing slight to mild hearing loss.
- Hearing aids: Hearing aids are typically needed for moderate to severe hearing loss such as when the ear is damaged. Various types of hearing aids are available to help amplify sounds reaching the ear. Your audiologist can recommend one that may benefit you the most.
- Assistive listening devices (ALDs): These can be used with or without hearing aids and help to enhance your hearing experience when watching TV, talking on the phone, or listening to the radio. It may be suitable for persons with mild to moderate hearing loss.
- Surgical procedures: Your doctor may recommend surgery if your hearing loss is due to abnormalities in the eardrum, repeated infections or persistent fluid buildup. A tiny tube is used to drain the ear in the case of fluid buildup.
- Cochlear implants: This treatment is reserved for severe to profound hearing loss. Instead of amplifying sounds, implants work by directly stimulating the hearing nerve.
- Lip reading: You may need to learn speechreading which involves observing lip, facial, and tongue movements to understand what others are saying. It is suitable for people with profound hearing loss but not those born with a hearing impairment.
- Sign language: This type of language is suitable for people who have permanent or profound hearing loss or are deaf. It involves using hand signs, facial expressions, and body movements but without sounds. It is used mainly by those who are deaf.
Contact North Shore Hearing P.C. Today
If you've been experiencing any type of hearing loss, the experts at North Shore Hearing P.C. can help. Contact us today to schedule a free hearing consultation.