New Wave Hearing Aid - Hearing Loss 101

Who Experiences Hearing Loss?

Approximately 48 million people (about one in six baby boomers) experience hearing loss, and that’s just here in America! Most of the time folks lose their hearing as an unfortunate side-effect of growing older, but it can also be caused by some medical conditions (like diabetes), loud noise, or injury/damage.

Most of our patients have found that hearing loss occurs very slowly over a long period of time. Throughout the years, folks have simply “learned to live” with the changes by turning up the radio or television, asking others to repeat what was said, or letting conversations slip by. When hearing is reduced some people start avoiding social situations because they feel embarrassed or hate constantly asking others to repeat themselves. Some might even give up beloved activities like volunteering, going to church, or even participating in family get-togethers because it’s too difficult. But you don’t have to change your life - most hearing loss is treatable!

Types of Hearing Loss

There are four main types of hearing loss; our specialists will help identify which type you are experiencing and the degree of severity. This is the first step to improving your hearing. A hearing test will identify any hearing loss you may have and the extent.

Conductive

This type of hearing loss may be temporary and can often be resolved through medication, brief procedure, or through surgery (rarely).

Sensorineural

There are tiny hairs found in the cochlea, and when they are damaged or missing, sensorineural hearing loss can occur. Surgery or hearing aids are the only solutions.

Mixed

Mixed hearing loss occurs when someone experiences both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. It is usually treated with hearing aids but can also be treated in combination with surgery, a brief procedure, or medication.

Central

Central hearing loss is the result of diseases to the central nervous system (or after a stroke). A type of therapy called auditory rehabilitation is usually necessary after this type of hearing loss has occurred.

IT’S TIME TO GET BACK TO YOUR LIFE AND ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF BETTER HEARING

Hearing isn’t just about participating in conversation; good hearing plays a role in information processing, brain function, and self-confidence. The sooner you assess your hearing loss and work on a solution, the sooner you can get back to normal.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENS WHEN YOU “HEAR”?

Hearing is really nothing more than sound waves turning into vibrations in your ear. Let’s take the example of a dog barking. When a dog barks the soundwaves travel to your middle ear hitting your eardrum which creates a chain reaction of movement and vibration toward your inner ear. The sound waves first hit your eardrum, and then the eardrum sends the vibration down the chain of command; first to your hammer, then your anvil, then to the stirrup.

The inner ear’s job is to carry the sound information from the cochlea to the brain. The inner ear consists of the cochlea (it resembles a very small snail) and the auditory nerve (which is the information messenger between the cochlea and brain). Using tiny hair cells, the auditory nerve deciphers and transmits sound waves into nerve impulses that your brain can understand. Once your brain receives the nerve impulses, it interprets it as a dog barking, and you “hear” the dog. This entire process happens instantaneously without you even knowing it happened. The same process happens for every noise, from the sound of typing on the keyboard to a plane going overhead. It’s quite impressive!

Unfortunately, those little hairs that are inside the inner ear are subject to damage from certain drugs, extremely loud noise, or even certain diseases. And once those little hairs are gone they cannot be regrown. However, hearing aids can help!

Our hearing specialists are trained to help diagnose which part of your ear is not working properly. If you are noticing hearing loss, contact us today. We want to help you choose the right solution for your hearing loss.