Hearing loss can be confusing, frightening, and upsetting. Many patients shrug off the early symptoms, making small adjustments every day to cope with the worsening condition—and by the time their hearing loss has become unmanageable, they are afraid to ask for help.
Our specialists want to help you at any point of your hearing loss journey. If you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss, we not only determine the extent and cause, we also want to know about you. We want to hear about your interests, your lifestyle, your loved ones, and your concerns to find the perfect hearing treatment that meets your needs. Contact us today to set up an appointment with one of our hearing care specialists!
Why Do I Have Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss is defined as any decrease in sensitivity to sound. There are three different types of hearing loss, but every hearing aid sufferer will have his or her own unique symptoms. The condition can begin suddenly or worsen slowly over time, and ranges from simple difficulty hearing in loud environments to an inability to hear individual sounds at a normal volume.
The most common causes of hearing loss include:
- Age. The natural aging process causes cell damage and degeneration to all structures in the body, and can affect the ears’ ability to pick up and process sounds.
- Genetics. Both hearing loss and total deafness can be inherited from family genetics (both dominant and recessive genes). Since their brains and bodies are not fully developed, children with hearing loss are at particular risk of suffering from learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and other damaging effects.
- Diseases and illnesses. Several diseases and health conditions can lead to hearing loss, including measles, mumps, syphilis, neurological conditions (such as multiple sclerosis), osteoporosis, and fetal alcohol syndrome.
- Physical stress. Head trauma from a physical incident can lead to hearing loss, as well as a direct injury to the inner ear or eardrum (such as poking an object into the ear canal or a loud noise that perforates the eardrum).
- Loud noises. Americans of all ages are susceptible to hearing problems from damaging noises, either from workplace exposure, personal audio devices, or constant exposure to low-level noises.
- Medications. Some medications taken for other conditions can unintentionally have a negative impact on hearing, and can have temporary or even permanent effects on hearing ability.
What Are the Different Stages of Hearing Loss?
People react to hearing problems in much the same way as they react to other types of personal loss. The loss of control over his or her life can cause a patient to lash out, become depressed, and grieve the loss of independence and freedom that he or she once had. In fact, the stages of hearing loss often progress similarly to a person experiencing grief:
- Denial. In the early stages of hearing loss, a person will often deny having a problem. He or she may be aware of the hearing problem, but still refuse to acknowledge or talk about it. The person will usually blame any evidence of the problem on others, claiming that others talk too fast or mumble. Unfortunately, many people will stay in the denial stage for years, denying themselves the benefits of early treatment.
- Withdrawal. Even if the person can admit to herself that there is a problem, she will attempt to avoid situations where her hearing loss can be noticed by others. Rather than explore ways to correct the problem, the person takes the full burden of the loss on herself, denying herself the comfort of others and the enjoyment of activities they once loved.
- Anger. Hearing-impaired people are often described as cranky or short-tempered, especially when the topic of hearing loss is brought up. The person may be angry that her life is changing, and will respond angrily rather than succumbing to the feelings of despair.
- Depression. The emotional strain of hearing loss eventually leads to depression, especially if the person does not have strong social support. Separated from family and fulfilling activities, a person will often suffer additional losses, including self-esteem, confidence, social inclusion, and cognitive abilities.
- Acceptance. Once a person is ready to accept that her hearing loss is affecting her life, she will be ready to do something about it. It may take months or even years for a person to reach this stage, but once she does, her life can improve quickly with the right course of treatment.
How Can I Restore Lost Hearing?
There are several options and courses of treatment available for hearing loss. In general, each treatment focuses on stopping the progression of the condition and allowing the patient to get the most out of his or her lifestyle. The most common treatments include:
- Hearing testing. The first step to correcting hearing loss is to have the full extent of your condition diagnosed. Our hearing care specialists will perform a series of tests to determine the type and degree of your hearing loss so we can find the treatment that works for you.
- Hearing aids. Most hearing loss patients benefit greatly from hearing devices. These devices do not require surgery, offer many options to integrate into the patient’s daily life, and allow hearing loss sufferers to regain confidence and independence.
- Aural rehabilitation. While hearing aids are the preferred treatment for hearing loss, patients often have an easier time adjusting to their new lives with a course of aural rehabilitation. In rehabilitation, patients are educated about their conditions and discuss ways to address specific concerns and manage hearing loss both with and without hearing devices.
At Sound Advice Hearing Aid Centers, our patients’ peace of mind is always most important. First and foremost, we want to make sure you’re comfortable with the decision you’re making. If you decide a hearing device is right for you, we’ll work hard to make sure that the device you desire is the best fit for you in every way. Call the number on this page of fill out our short contact form to make your appointment today!