Hearing Loss Overview
In the United States, approximately 15% of the U.S. adult population experiences some degree of hearing difficulty, but only 16% of those individuals have done something to improve their hearing ability. Changes in hearing are invisible and often develop gradually over a number of years of living a rich and wonderful life. As such, many people who may benefit from hearing solutions do not often seek treatment.
Here at Hearing Solutions of North Carolina, we are committed to raising awareness around hearing challenges and also focusing on the life-changing benefits that come from hearing solutions. We believe that hearing loss is manageable and a common concern, and we aim to provide the best care following a patient-care center approach. When it comes to caring for your hearing, you can trust us to provide the wellness information you need and the personal touch you deserve.
Understanding Your Hearing
Hearing challenges occur when the ability to hear is diminished, making it difficult to understand certain speech sounds or sounds in your environment. Note that we use the word 'understand' and not 'hear' - most people can still hear other people talk; it’s just that they often find it hard to understand what is being said.
The most common kind of hearing loss we see is sensorineural hearing loss. It is caused by damage to the hair cells inside the inner ear or nerve damage to the hearing. Another kind of hearing loss is known as conductive hearing loss. This occurs when sounds are obstructed and do not move from your outer ear to your inner ear. Generally, individuals with this form of hearing loss report that noises are dampened. A mixed hearing loss is a combination of a conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss.
Signs of Changes in Your Hearing
Recognizing these signs can help you seek treatment sooner rather than later. Early detection and treatment ensures that you remain connected to the sounds of your life and the people you love. Here are a few common signs that your may have had a change in your hearing:
- Difficulties understanding what others are saying or mis-hearing what is said
- Thinking that others are mumbling and often ask people to repeat themselves
- Physical exhaustion after social events or gatherings
- Watching TV or listening to the radio at a higher volume
Causes of Hearing Loss
There are two primary forms of sensorineural hearing loss:
Age-related: Often known as presbycusis, this type occurs naturally affecting high frequency sounds and occurs in both ears. It usually starts between 45 and 65 and can be affected by environmental factors such as prolonged exposure to noise or health factors such as diabetes and cardio-vascular disease.
Noise-induced: The most frequent cause of this preventable hearing loss is exposure to loud noise. It may result from either a one-off exposure to loud noise (such as a gunshot) or sustained exposure to a series of loud noises over many years (such as working in a loud environment).
Treating Hearing Loss
If we determine your hearing can be improved with medication or surgery, we will refer you to an otolaryngologist (ENT physician). We are proud of our long standing relationship with the medical community.
The most common form of treatment for sensorineural hearing loss is the prescription for hearing aids. Hearing aids offer the following features to improve your hearing ability:
- They amplify the frequencies or speech sound that are no longer in your hearing range improving understanding and communication.
- They make it easier to understand someone in a noisy place.
- They empower you and give you more confidence especially when you leave your home.
- They offer features to help to alleviate or reduce the annoyance of tinnitus.
Contact us today if you believe you have had a change in your hearing. We’re here to help you on your journey to better hearing.