Posts for tag: Hearing Loss
Recognize the early warning signs of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is incredibly common—the NIH reports that one in eight people in the US over the age of 12 years old has some degree of hearing loss. While hearing loss is more common among older adults, this doesn’t mean hearing loss can’t occur in young children, teens, or adults. The key is detecting hearing loss early on so an otolaryngologist can treat the problem and also take measures to prevent hearing loss from getting worse.
Everyone Seems Like They’re Mumbling
You used to be able to understand what people were saying to you but these days it seems like everyone around you is mumbling. While some people are simply soft-spoken if you find yourself having trouble understanding what most people around you are saying this could be a sign that they aren’t mumbling, but rather, that you’re dealing with some degree of hearing loss.
You Say “Huh” A Lot
Along with noticing that people around you are suddenly mumbling a lot more, you may also find yourself saying “What?” or “Huh?” to people a lot. If having people repeat themselves has become commonplace this is another telltale sign of hearing loss.
You Don’t Follow Conversations
When you don’t fully understand what people are saying around you it’s often easier just to tune it all out. The problem is that many people with hearing loss, particularly seniors, feel the social withdrawal that comes with not being part of the conversation. If you also find that noisy settings such as a crowded restaurants make it even more difficult to understand people and conversations, you may want to see your audiologist for a hearing evaluation.
Phone Conversations are More Difficult
Nothing is better than getting to catch up with family and friends on the phone unless you’re dealing with hearing loss. Even mild hearing loss can make it difficult to understand what someone else is saying on the phone. If you find yourself working hard to hear what someone is saying on the phone (or if you have to turn the volume all the way up) you may want to schedule a hearing test with an ENT.
If you are noticing changes in your hearing, it’s important that you turn to an otolaryngologist right away to learn about the cause and degree of your hearing loss, and whether you could benefit from a hearing aid.
You say “huh” a lot
Do you often need people to repeat themselves? Has the word “huh” suddenly become your word of the day, every day? Having people repeat themselves is often a sign of hearing loss. Instead of assuming that everyone around you has suddenly started mumbling, it might be time to have your hearing checked by an audiologist.
You don’t hear certain sounds
Surprised to know that there was someone at the door? Did your son, daughter, or grandchild have to tell you that the kitchen timer’s been going off? Certain sounds such as a doorbell, phone ringing, or timers are often more difficult to notice if you are dealing with hearing loss. If others hear sounds clearly that you don’t, it’s time to see your doctor.
You turn the volume up
Much to your family’s chagrin, you just can’t seem to hear the TV or the radio unless you turn the volume way up. You may even notice that other members of your family have no trouble hearing the TV when you do. Again, these are signs that you shouldn’t ignore. Additionally, having to turn the volume up on your headphones or the TV can also be dangerous to your hearing and lead to more severe hearing loss down the road.
You need to look at someone while they’re talking
Do you find that you need to be looking directly at someone to understand what they are saying? Do you have trouble understanding people who are talking to you but might be standing behind you? People with hearing loss often need to look at faces to understand what a person is saying. That’s because they are usually reading lips. If you find yourself staring at people’s lips while talking to them this could be a sign that your hearing isn’t what it used to be.
An ENT doctor is going to be key to detecting and treating your hearing loss, but it’s important to turn to a doctor as soon as possible. They can provide you with hearing aids and implants that can treat everything from mild to profound hearing loss. If you want to be part of the conversation again turn to an ENT doctor today for a hearing evaluation.
- Hear muffled speech or sounds
- Have a problem understanding individual words
- Need people to speak more loudly or slowly
- Have to turn up the television or radio
- Withdraw from social events or conversations
- Protect your ears by wearing earplugs or earmuffs if you are in a loud workplace
- Have your hearing tested by an audiologist or ENT specialist. Current recommendations are to have your hearing tested at least every 10 years through age 50, and every three years after age 50.
- Protect your ears from damaging loud noises in your daily activities and recreation, especially listening to rock concerts, shooting guns or riding in loud vehicles.
- Take breaks from continuous loud noises.
While hearing loss—to some degree—is fairly common as we get older, it doesn’t mean that younger adults can’t also experience some form of hearing loss. Whether you are concerned that your hearing is declining or you are trying to prevent hearing loss from happening to you, here are some reasons why this problem can occur earlier on in life.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
One of the most common reasons people develop hearing loss is exposure to loud and harmful noises. A lot of these noises are present in our environment such as the construction happening right outside our apartment or the traffic jam you always seem to get stuck in at rush hour. Repeated exposure to these harmful elements can lead to noise-induced hearing loss (NIFL). Everyone from children and teens to adults can develop this form of hearing loss.
In some cases, NIFL is caused by exposure to one extremely loud sound (e.g. explosion), while other times it’s due to repeated, long-term exposure to harmful noises. Everything from hunting to using a lawnmower can put your hearing at risk.
Luckily, NIFL is preventable. It’s important to understand that certain noises can be dangerous to your hearing. By incorporating more hearing-friendly practices into your day-to-day life you could reduce your risk of hearing loss. Besides knowing what sounds are harmful to your ears, it’s important that you consider wearing some kind of protection (e.g. ear plugs) when exposed to these noises. If you don’t have protection and can’t reduce the sound, try to stay as far away from it as possible.
Injuries the eardrum, sudden changes in pressure or even loud noises can cause the eardrum to rupture. Sometimes an undetected ear infection can also cause this problem. As a result, hearing can be affected.
While sometimes hearing loss after a ruptured eardrum is only temporary if the eardrum doesn’t heal properly or isn’t treated this could lead to repeated ear infections which, over time, could cause permanent hearing loss. If you are someone who is prone to infections, or if you think your eardrum has ruptured, it’s important that you turn to an ENT doctor right away.
If you aren’t able to hear people as clearly as you once did it’s important that you get a hearing screening as soon as possible. The sooner you seek care the sooner you can get the treatment you need to prevent your hearing loss from getting worse. Turn to an otolaryngologist today.
Maybe you didn’t even notice it but other members of your family pointed out the fact that you need to blast the TV in order to hear it or that you have to asked people to repeat themselves quite often. If people often sound like they are mumbling or difficult to understand then you could be dealing with hearing loss. Approximately 48 million Americans deal with some degree of hearing loss. If you are part of this statistic then it’s important that you turn to an otolaryngologist you can trust.
While you may not realize it, an ENT doctor is exactly the specialist you want on your side to not only diagnose your hearing loss but also to provide the hearing aid you need to improve your hearing. While a hearing aid is not designed to restore hearing it can help amplify certain sounds to make hearing much easier.
There are a variety of different hearing aid options available to you, and the style you choice will really depend on your goals, lifestyle, degree of hearing loss, budget and any special features you are looking for. Common hearing aids styles include:
Invisible-in-the-Canal (IIC): Just as the name suggests, this style of hearing aid is placed deep within the ear canal so it’s completely invisible. It’s a great option for those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
Completely-in-Canal (CIC): Also good for mild-to-moderate hearing loss, this style will allow the hearing aid to be completely invisible within the ear canal. The only difference is that a clear tab on the hearing aid is used to place and remove it.
In-the-Canal (ITC): A small portion of this hearing aid is visible but it is flesh-colored so it won’t be obvious to those around you. It’s a great style for those dealing with mild to severe hearing loss.
In-the-Ear (ITE): This style is also capable of handling a wide variety of hearing loss, from mild to severe. This hearing aid is custom-made to fit the outer area of the ear rather than sitting within the ear canal.
Receiver-in-Canal (RIC): This allows the speaker to sit within the ear canal where it is out of sight; however, the speaker is connected to the amplifier (which sits behind the ear) by wires rather than tubing. It’s a discreet option for those with mild-to-severe hearing loss.
Behind-the-Ear (BTE): This type of hearing aid allows the speaker to lie hidden within the ear canal. The speaker is attached to a clear, thin tube that is connected to the amplifier, which sits behind the ear. This is a great option for those with moderate-to-severe hearing loss.
It’s important to find the right hearing aid to fit your unique needs, and an ENT doctor can provide you with the quality hearing aid you’re looking for so that you can be part of the conversation again.