ENT Services (cont.)

Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss is caused by any condition or disease that blocks or impedes the conveyance of sound through the middle ear. The result is a reduction in the sound intensity (loudness) that reaches the cochlea. Generally, the cause of conductive hearing loss can be treated with a complete or partial improvement in hearing.

Sensorineural hearing loss results from inner ear or auditory nerve dysfunction. Often, the cause cannot be determined. It is typically irreversible and permanent. It, too, reduces the intensity of sound, but it might also result in a lack of clarity even when sounds, particularly speech, are loud enough. The treatment for sensorineural hearing loss is amplification through hearing aids.

A mixed hearing loss is a combination of a conductive and a sensorineural hearing loss. Hearing aids may be beneficial for persons with a mixed hearing loss, but not in all cases.
• Approximately 36 million Americans suffer from hearing loss.
• More than half of the people with hearing loss are younger than 65.
• Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the U.S. Untreated hearing loss can affect your ability to understand speech and can negatively impact your social and emotional well being hearing impairment can decrease your quality of life!

Signs you may have a hearing loss:
Difficulty hearing people talk in noisy environments such as a restaurant, shopping mall, in a car, or at the movie theater.
People seem to mumble all the time.
Family, friends, or colleagues often have to repeat themselves when speaking with you.
You have trouble hearing people when they are not facing you or are in another room.
You have trouble following conversations.
You have ringing, buzzing, or hissing sounds in your ears.

What causes hearing loss?
Exposure to excessive loud noise.
Ear infections, trauma, or ear disease.
Harm of the ear from contact with a foreign object.
Illness or certain medications.
Deteriorating hearing due to the normal aging process.
Excessive ear wax (cerumen.


Tinnitus is characterized by annoying ear noises, which can be soft as a whistle or loud enough to be completely debilitating. Tinnitus can also cause sleep disturbance and interfere with concentration. Tinnitus is not a disease in itself, but a symptom that something is wrong in the auditory system. While theories exist, the actual mechanism responsible for tinnitus remains unknown, as does the origin of the ear noises. But tinnitus is not just in the patient's imagination. It is a physiological or neurological event that has not yet been identified. Tinnitus can occur in a single episode, temporarily for a few days or weeks, or permanently. It can occur in one ear (unilaterally) or both ears (bilaterally). While more common in both ears, the rare unilateral ailment can be more serious.

How to Protect Your Hearing • Wear hearing protection when around sounds louder than 85dB for a long period of time. There are different types of hearing protection such as foam earplugs, earmuffs and custom hearing protection devices. Contact your local audiologist for custom hearing protection devices. • Turn down the volume when listening to the radio, the TV, MP3 player, or anything through ear buds and headphones.Visit TurnIttotheLeft.com • Walk away from the noise. • And, other than hearing protection, do not put anything in your ear! The above information provided by the American Academy of Audiology.

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