The New Year is a great opportunity to set and commit to health goals. This includes your hearing health which often goes unnoticed. Hearing loss is one of the most common medical conditions that people deal with today. Currently impacting an estimated 48 million people, this number is expected to rapidly grow as more and more people are becoming increasingly vulnerable to developing hearing loss. Kick off the New Year by prioritizing your hearing health and getting your hearing tested!
Addressing Hearing Loss: What to Expect
Acknowledging changes to hearing health and approaching treatment can be stressful. But by prioritizing treatment, you are putting yourself on the road towards better health and wellness. Knowing what you can expect can help you feel at ease and prepared to commit to your health.
- Hearing test: the first step to address hearing loss is simple – schedule an appointment for a hearing test. Hearing tests involve a painless process that measures hearing capacity in both ears. Conducted by a hearing healthcare specialist (like an audiologist), you will respond to speech and sound that is played at different frequencies. This establishes the softest sounds can hear and the types of sounds that are more challenging to detect. Hearing tests identify the degree of impairment you could be experiencing in each ear, establishing your hearing needs.
- Results & treatment: once the specifics of your hearing needs are identified, your hearing healthcare provider can make treatment recommendations. The most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids – electronic devices that are designed to detect, amplify, and process sound.
- Hearing aid fitting: there is a wide range of hearing aids – types, styles, features, etc. Your hearing healthcare provider will recommend devices that will be optimal for your specific hearing loss and lifestyle. Depending on the device you choose, they may take molds of your ears to custom make your hearing aid. During your follow-up hearing aid fitting appointment, your hearing healthcare provider will ensure your hearing aid fits you perfectly and will walk you through how to maximize use and care for your device.
Fortunately, treating hearing loss is noninvasive and straightforward. At Ear, Nose, and Throat Consultants we are invested in providing comprehensive care that transforms health and enhances the quality of life.
Understanding Hearing Loss
Several factors can contribute to the development of hearing loss. A few common causes include:
- Aging: age is the strongest indicator of hearing loss. Older adults are disproportionately impacted by hearing loss. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, half of all adults who are 75 and older have some degree of hearing loss. Age-related hearing loss also referred to as presbycusis can occur as a result of a few things: changes to the ear, the cumulative toll of loud noise, existing medical conditions, etc.
- Exposure to loud noise: absorbing loud noise (one time or regularly) can cause damage to the inner ear. Loud noise can cause the hair cells in the inner ear to lose sensitivity, reducing their ability to translate soundwaves into electrical signals. This makes it more difficult for the brain to then further analyze soundwaves, producing hearing loss symptoms. Hair cells in the inner ear, unlike other types of cells, do not regenerate so damage is permanent.
- Existing medical conditions: extensive research shows that numerous medical conditions can increase the risk of hearing loss. This includes hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis.
- Head and/or neck injuries: trauma to the head or neck area can cause physical damage to integral components of the auditory system (outer, middle, inner ear, and the brain), impacting the capacity to absorb and process sound.
Other causes include chronic ear infections, inner ear disorders, and autoimmune conditions. Hearing loss produces
Commit to Your Hearing Health this New Year
The first step is simple: call us to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation. Our practice offers a range of services and expertise that makes hearing healthcare accessible. Treating hearing loss not only strengthens hearing but also improves relationships, supports active social life, and enhances overall health. The New Year is a great time to prioritize your health and wellness!