Understand the importance of hearing.
Understanding Hearing Loss
Even mild hearing loss can seriously affect how you interact with others and process information. You rely on your hearing to not only hear what people are saying, but to be aware of your surroundings and give your brain the stimulation it needs to stay healthy. Binaural hearing – hearing with both ears – is how we process information from all around us. Hearing loss and other hearing disorders affect our ability to properly decipher sounds.
When left untreated, hearing loss can have a negative impact on your well-being. Without healthy hearing, the brain has a difficult time recognizing new sounds and processing information. Over time, this can lead to atrophy and cognitive decline. If you suspect you have hearing loss, it’s important to have your hearing checked.
Signs of Hearing Loss
Often times, many people don’t realize they have hearing loss until it’s too late. Many Americans who have hearing loss wait an average of seven years before they seek treatment. If you have noticed any problems with your hearing – or a loved one has suggested you have your hearing tested – you should schedule an appointment.
Common signs of hearing loss include:
- Muffled hearing in one ear or both ears, It’s hard to hear or understand others when there is background noise
- Difficulty following conversations that involve multiple people
- Inappropriate responses during conversations
- Turning the volume up loudly on the TV or radio
- It seems others mumble
- It’s hard to hear when there is background noise
- Withdrawing from social situations
- History of exposure to loud sounds
- You have heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure
Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss occurs in varying degrees; mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe or profound. In addition to the degrees, there are also different types of hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss, affecting the majority of people. This type of hearing loss is permanent and occurs due to damage of the hearing nerve or hair cells in the inner ear. This is often due to loud noise exposure, age, genetics, ototoxic medications, or an underlying health condition such as diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure. Treatment for sensorineural hearing loss includes hearing aids and assistive listening devices.
Conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound cannot be transmitted from the outer and middle ear to the inner ear. This is often the result of impacted earwax, ruptured eardrum, fluid in the middle ear, head or ear trauma, or ear infection. Conductive hearing loss treatment includes antibiotics or surgery.
Mixed hearing loss
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive. To treat this type of hearing loss, you would have to visit a physician for the conductive portion, and the sensorineural portion can be managed with hearing aids.
Better Communication Tips
Better hearing requires more than just hearing aids. Your family and close friends can help you by following these communication tips!
- Sit or stand 3 to 6 feet away to maximize audibility
- Stay at eye level to help with visual cues
- Make sure you have the person’s attention before speaking
- Try not to speak fast
- Use short, simple sentences
- Instead of repeating what you said, try rephrasing it
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