Symptoms of hearing loss include difficulty understanding what others are saying, asking people to repeat themselves, struggling to hear in crowded places with distracting background noise, the perception that others are mumbling or not speaking clearly, listening to the television or radio at a higher volume than others, experiencing a ringing or buzzing in the ears. You may find yourself withdrawing from social situations in order to avoid conversation and might experience depression.
A number of factors can cause hearing loss. The most common include aging, noise exposure, ear infections, excessive earwax, ear or head trauma, genetics, birth defects, benign growths or tumors, otosclerosis, Meniere’s disease and reactions to drugs.
Yes. There are three types of hearing loss: Sensorineural, conductive and mixed. Sensorineural is the result of damage to the inner ear nerves. Conductive is the result of obstructions in the outer or middle ear. Mixed hearing loss is a combination of the other two types; this means that in one ear you have an issue with the outer or middle ear and the inner ear.
Some types of hearing loss are preventable. Noise-induced hearing loss can be avoided by wearing proper hearing protection when exposed to occupational or recreational noise and turning down the volume on your TV, radio or personal music device. To prevent other types of hearing loss, avoid sticking cotton swabs or other objects in your ears, blow your nose gently through both nostrils and swallow or yawn frequently when traveling by airplane.
Today’s hearing aids are small and discreet, and some models are completely invisible to others. Besides, asking people to repeat themselves, responding inappropriately when others are talking and social withdrawal are more obvious indicators of hearing loss than wearing hearing aids.
Choosing a hearing aid can be a daunting task. Your audiologist will work closely with you to take into account several factors – the type and severity of your hearing loss, your lifestyle, the size and shape of your outer ears and inner ear canals and your manual dexterity – in order to determine the best hearing device for you.
A cochlear implant is an electronic device that converts sound to digital signals that are sent to the brain, bypassing damaged nerve cells, where they are translated as sound. Whereas hearing aids amplify sounds, cochlear implants enable the user to understand speech and speak more clearly. They help patients with severe or profound hearing loss who can’t benefit from hearing aids.
Assistive listening devices (ALDs) are portable amplifiers that may be used either in conjunction with hearing aids and cochlear implants or on their own. They separate speech from background noises, making it easier to follow conversations in certain environments where distance, competing distractions or poor acoustics are factors.
For those with hearing loss, The Family Hearing Center will request that you bring in or fax a prescription from one of your physicians, preferably your internist. The referral should be received at the time of your evaluation appointment. When you come in we will also ask that you fill out an HCFA form and allow us to make copies of your Medicare card and secondary insurance cards, when applicable. Following your evaluation, the bill will be sent directly to Medicare.
Both an audiologist and speech-language pathologist will conduct testing. Patients’ first point of contact is the audiology appointment secretary, who will conduct a phone interview to determine if TLC’s evaluation is appropriate for the child in question. If so, clients will schedule an appointment. Generally, three separate appointments are scheduled: one with an audiologist, a second with a speech-language pathologist, and third, a parent meeting to review our results and recommendations.
TLC is one of a few facilities in the area that does team testing, which involves a staff member assisting the audiologist in the test booth and focusing on the needs of the child, so the audiologist can concentrate on test procedures. This team approach typically offers a non-threatening and fun experience for both child and parent. Also, depending on the age or involvement of your child, the center has a variety of test procedures available, and audiologists who are experienced in testing children of all ages for possible hearing loss.
There are many digital hearing instruments available, including modern designs that are discreet and wireless, easy to operate, and fully automatic. Most of these hearing aids analyze sounds, determine if the sound is speech versus noise and then convert this information to numbers which are analyzed and manipulated by a set of rules or algorithms that are programmed into a chip that controls the hearing aid amplification. As a result, digital hearing aids have less distortion than is generally found in analog hearing aids. These devices are extremely flexible and can be fine-tuned in many different ways via a computer.