Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Hearing Loss
Updated: May 19
If you are suffering from hearing loss or you are around people with hearing loss, you probably have a list of questions about this condition. Individuals with hearing loss usually experience many challenges and concerns. In this article we try to explain frequently asked questions (FAQ) about hearing loss that people think and search for with our expert answers.
Hearing Loss FAQs:
What should happen if you suspect hearing loss?
When feeling hearing symptoms you didn’t notice before or when strange things start affecting your life gradually, this is when you should take action immediately. The first thing you should do is contact your audiologist. They will guide you and identify whether your hearing loss requires medical treatments or not. You will work as a team to diagnose, treat and manage the hearing loss you are facing.
Does hearing loss always occur as we age and grow up?
Presbycusis or age-related hearing loss is very common and widespread nowadays. Almost half of those older than 75 face difficulty hearing. However, no one should assume that hearing loss occurs to old people only. Babies and adolescents can also develop hearing loss.
In a new review study, it showed that more than one billion teens and young adults might be at risk for hearing loss.
How does hearing loss occur?
Many people get curious to know how hearing loss takes place. Some are born with it because of genetic conditions or malformations of the structures that are the foundation of the auditory system. Others may develop it later throughout their life. There are many hearing loss causes.
A number of factors trigger hearing loss:
Constant exposure to loud noise (entertainment or work)
Excessive wax buildup
Benign tumors or growths
What are the different types of hearing loss?
There are three types of hearing loss:
1. Conductive hearing loss
It occurs in the middle or outer ear. Sound waves are not able to reach to the inner ear.
It is less shared and spread than sensorineural hearing loss.
It is the result of obstructions in the ear due to several reasons including fluids, tumors, earwax or ear formation.
It is usually treated surgically or through using medicine.
2. Sensorineural hearing loss
It occurs when the hearing nerve becomes damaged. Some of the hair cells inside the cochlea become impaired.
It is the utmost common type of hearing loss.
It impacts the pathways from the inner ear to the brain.
Hearing aids can be beneficial since this type cannot be medically or surgically treated.
3. Mixed hearing loss
It is a mixture of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
Doctors diagnose it damage too place in the middle and inner ear.
What are the primary signs of hearing loss?
Some hearing loss symptoms consist of:
Extra effort understanding what other people are saying
Requesting people to recap what they said
Struggling to hear in noisy environments
Listening to music, the radio and the TV at higher volume than the restHandling ringing or buzzing in the ears
Having more struggle hearing women and children than men
Withdrawing from social situations
Always complaining that people around are mumbling
Not hearing the phone or doorbell
Looking intently at peoples’ lips to understand what is being said
How to choose the best hearing aid suitable for your case?
There are many styles, brands and types of hearing aids nowadays. The style is dependent upon your basic needs and lifestyle. This is assessed during the audiological evaluation done with you at first.
Digital technology played a major and huge role in the development of hearing aids. Today’s hearing aids are considered innovative and sleek, offering many different solutions to all hearing aid users.
When choosing the style of your hearing aid, you should consider:
The different levels and types of hearing loss
The power requirements
How is hearing loss diagnosed?
Seeing an audiologist is a must when suffering from hearing loss. They will perform a formal hearing evaluation that indicates the type, nature and degree of hearing loss.
They test for speech understanding at numerous volume levels in different conditions.
They check if there are any problems in the ear caused by any obstruction (eardrum as an example).
A thorough case history in addition to a visual inspection of the eardrum and ear canal is requested.
Tests of the middle ear function are performed.
Babies and children are tested using specific techniques appropriate for their age.
watching babies localize to sounds given to them through speakers
teaching young children to react whenever they hear sound
All the results are plotted on a graph named an audiogram. It provides a visual view of the results across several pitches.
What are the different degrees of hearing loss?
After you do your hearing evaluation with your audiologist, the results are seen on the audiogram. Hearing levels are described usually in general categories. They are as follow:
Normal hearing (0 to 25 dB)
Mild (between 25 and 40 dB)
Moderate (between 41 and 70 dB)
Severe (between 71 and 90 dB)
Profound (greater than 91 dB)
How does hearing loss affect our daily life?
Hearing loss isn’t a specific condition that affects all people equally. Some might face mild hearing loss and others might face severe hearing loss that might take place slowly with time.
Usually we start to find difficulty hearing our loved ones. it becomes very challenging to understand what they are saying.
We start to notice that we can hear in quiet places but not in crowded places with background noise. Understanding speech becomes a difficult task to do.
Can hearing loss affect relationships?
Without question, the most challenging thing you face with hearing loss is the impact on your relationships.
Whenever people feel how hard it became to communicate with others, they start isolating themselves and avoiding social situations that require hearing. Similarly, the people around those with hearing loss also stop communicating with them and avoiding them. This leads to a breakdown in communication, in addition to depression. This combination of depression and isolation is also an indicating sign of dementia.
Can hearing loss affect speech?
To be able to speak normally, we must be able to hear sounds accurately and correctly. That is why those born with hearing loss or who develop it during the beginning years of their speech and language show delayed speech and abnormal patterns.
Due to technology and constantly updated research, newborn hearing screenings help us identify hearing loss at birth. We are then able to begin amplification and intervention very early.
Those with hearing loss cannot regulate their own voice and might speak much softer or louder than they used to.
What are the best hearing loss treatment?
To treat hearing loss, we have to figure out the cause of it and what type it is.
If it is conductive hearing loss, it is caused by a problem in the middle or outer ear. This avoids sound from being directed through the auditory system effectually. To treat this kind, we have either surgical intervention or medication.
If it is sensorineural hearing loss, it is a permanent hearing loss caused by damage within the sensory organs of cochlea, the auditory system or the auditory nerve. To treat this kind, traditional hearing aids is the best solution.
Common treatments include eliminating toxic medication, taking antibiotics for infections or using assistive devices.
Does hearing loss lead to deafness?
Hearing loss in general doesn’t mean the person is deaf. It doesn’t necessarily lead to deafness.
When treatment for hearing loss is delayed, the auditory nerves and cortex no longer conduct sounds effectively. That is why it’s crucial to start the treatment as early as possible.
Can hearing loss happen in one ear only?
Yes, it can. You can have it from birth, or it may develop later in life, either suddenly or gradually. You may notice:
Tinnitus or ringing in one ear
Favoring one ear over the other when using the phone or integrating in conversations
Feeling tired at the end of the day from the effort done to hear others and your environment
Can we prevent hearing loss?
Some types of hearing loss are preventable such as noise-induced hearing loss.
You can prevent them by:
Avoiding too much noise
Limiting loud sounds in your daily life
Wearing hearing protection from earplugs, earmuffs or earphones
Managing your cardiac health and blood pressure
Keeping diabetes under control
Removing earwax properly
Having your ears regularly and consistently checked
Exercising and practicing stress reduction
Learning about your family history- it will help you know if you are at risk or no
Knowing the side effects of the drugs that might cause hearing loss - ototoxic drugs
Our hearing is a vital form of communication. It should always be treated as such. Once you take care of your ears, they will take care of you.
You may have many other questions that were not covered here. Make sure to ask your audiologist. They will be your hearing support system that you can feel comfortable and safe with.