Signs & Symptoms Of Hearing Loss

There are three types of hearing loss:
  • Conductive
    Where loss is related to malfunction of
    the external canal, the eardrum, or
    the small bones of the middle ear.
  • Sensorineural
    Where loss is related to problems in the inner ear (known as nerve deafness).
  • Mixed Loss
    Where loss is a combination of conductive
    and sensorineural.
Types of Hearing Loss
There are three types of hearing loss:
  • Conductive
    Where loss is related to malfunction of
    the external canal, the eardrum, or
    the small bones of the middle ear.
  • Sensorineural
    Where loss is related to problems in the inner ear (known as nerve deafness).
  • Mixed Loss
    Where loss is a combination of conductive
    and sensorineural.
Causes of Hearing Loss
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Head trauma
  • Toxic drugs
  • Repeated infections
  • Genetic/inherited familial hearing loss
  • Aging
  • Tumors
  • Otosclerosis
  • Autoimmune inner ear disease
What does it mean if my ears are ringing?
Tinnitus is the medical term for the perception
of ringing or noise in the ear. Tinnitus can result
from inflammation in the outer ear, the
middle ear, the inner ear, and even from the
brain itself.
Although tinnitus usually accompanies some degree of hearing loss, it occasionally occurs in people with entirely normal hearing. Tinnitus comes in many forms: buzzing, ringing, hissing, sizzling, rumbling, etc.
The treatment for tinnitus varies by cause. Many people can be helped medically, and those who suffer may improve over time even without formal treatment.
There are some serious medical conditions that
may present as tinnitus so it is generally
recommended that tinnitus sufferers seek
an initial medical evaluation. Hearing aids
may help tinnitus sufferers by amplifying
the outside world, and thereby diminishing
the internal perception of the intrusive tinnitus.
Can you benefit from amplification?
The best candidates for amplification are
motivated by a desire and need to
communicate and have a mild to moderate
hearing loss. Hearing aids are helpful but
of limited value for those with profound
losses.  A simple amplifier may suffice
for someone with a very mild loss. A
properly fitted hearing aid will enhance
reception of sounds you do not hear and do
little to alter sounds that you do hear.
 This should result in improved understanding
in difficult listening environments, such as a restaurant.
Benefits of Amplification
The benefits of appropriate
amplification are many:
  • - Improved hearing of communication and
    sounds that you do not hear without an aid
  • - Improved ability to use a telephone
  • - Improved socialization with new ability
    to communicate with family and friends
  • - Improved ability to communicate in difficult sound environments, such as groups and noisy restaurants
  • - There is evidence to show that the
    rate of hearing loss is slowed in aided
    vs. unaided hearing-impaired ears.
Don't let your life suffer, due to hearing loss.
Hearing loss is a unique disability, in that
it is invisible. Helen Keller remarked that
blindness cuts us off from things, while
hearing loss cuts us off from people.
In older adults, hearing loss often results
in depression, isolation, and feelings of
loneliness.  The average American waits five
to seven years to seek help after awareness
of hearing loss.
Recent studies have demonstrated a link
between dementia and hearing loss.  
The old adage comes to mind, "If you don't use it,
you lose it!"

Let’s begin with an overview of Hearing.

How We Hear

Ear Diagram

External, Middle, and Inner Ear Diagram

Sound normally reaches us as a compression wave traveling through air
at over 700 miles per hour. The external ear (pinna) collects and funnels the sound waves into the ear canal. This concentrated sound energy travels down the external auditory canal to strike the ear drum.. The middle ear includes the ear drum, the middle ear ossicles (bones), and the eustachian tube. The mechanical energy from the ear drum vibration is amplified by the ossicular chain (middle ear bones: malleus, incus, and stapes) and is then transferred to the inner ear which lies deep in the skull (temporal bone). The inner ear is filled with fluid and contains specialized nerve cells that are tuned to frequencies similar to a piano keyboard. There are approximately 21000 of these specialized cells to transmit this frequency specific information into electrochemical nerve impulses that travel through the acoustic nerve to the brainstem and ultimately to the auditory cortex of the brain where sound is interpreted.

Image of Cochlea compared to a dime

Dime sized Choclea

This remarkable inner ear organ is no larger than a dime and yet it enables us to functionally communicate with friends and loved ones, enjoy the wondrous sounds and rhythms of nature, and appreciate the beauty of musical artistry. Hearing truly is a gift that deserves our very best efforts to protect and preserve.
 

Let Us Help You Identify the Cause of Your Hearing Loss and Find a Solution!