Hearing Loss

Hearing loss affects more than 48 million Americans of all ages making it one of the most common health conditions in the nation. It is the third most commonly reported physical condition, following arthritis and heart disease. It affects 1 out of 3 people by the age of 65. It’s not just a disease of the elderly; however, it’s becoming increasingly common in younger people who are exposed to excessive noise levels. Taking steps now to protect your hearing can prevent you from developing a hearing impairment in the future.

Hearing loss is a progressive condition that worsens over time if left untreated. Symptoms appear so gradually, you may be completely unaware of your condition for some time. Knowing the signs of hearing loss may contribute to seeking health care sooner. Any of the following may indicate hearing loss:

  • Frequently asking people to repeat what they have said.
  • Feeling like others mumble when they speak.
  • Having difficulty following conversations in which background noise is present.
  • Turning up the volume on the television or radio.
  • Avoiding social gatherings in noisy places.

Often, a family member or friend will be the first to notice a hearing problem. Since treatment is most effective when begun early, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist if you think you might be suffering from diminished hearing. To diagnose hearing loss, your doctor will review your medical history, discuss your symptoms and give you a physical examination followed by a hearing evaluation consisting of a series of audiological tests. Treatment will depend on the type and degree of hearing loss.

The three types of hearing loss are conductive, sensorineural and mixed. Conductive hearing loss occurs when there are problems in the outer ear, ear canal, eardrum or middle ear. Conductive hearing loss is often correctable with surgery or medications such as antibiotics. Alternatively, it may be treated with hearing aids. It can be caused by:

  • Ear infection.
  • Fluid in the ears.
  • Malformation or abnormalities of the outer or middle ear.
  • Impacted earwax.
  • Foreign object in the ear.
  • Allergies.
  • Perforated eardrum.
  • Otosclerosis.
  • Benign tumors.

Sensorineural hearing loss involves a problem with the inner ear and is frequently referred to as “nerve deafness.” Sensorineural hearing loss can sometimes be treated with medications such as corticosteroids or surgery. More likely, hearing aids will be required. It may be caused by:

  • Noise exposure.
  • Head trauma.
  • Aging (presbycusis).
  • Viral disease.
  • Autoimmune ear disease.
  • Meniere’s disease.
  • Malformation or abnormality of the inner ear.
  • Otosclerosis.
  • Tumors.

Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both types. Treatment might involve a combination of medication, surgery, and/or hearing aids.

Hearing loss is a common condition that affects 1 out of 3 people by the age of 65. It’s not just a disease of the elderly, however; it’s becoming increasingly common in younger people who are exposed to excessive noise levels. Taking steps now to protect your hearing can prevent you from developing a hearing impairment in the future. If you have problems with your hearing or want to protect your hearing, call 310-906-4447 today to schedule a consultation and let CHG transform your hearing.

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