Hearing loss can have a major impact on your quality of life and with about 15 percent of adults in America experiencing this problem, it's cause for concern, especially as you age. If you're afraid of losing your hearing, don't suffer in silence; learn more about the situation and especially, what you can do about it. If you're experiencing hearing loss, you've all the more reason to read on and take action, sooner, rather than later.
Symptoms Of Hearing Loss
Since your hearing can be affected on a temporary basis, pay attention to the symptoms that are consistent and that don't just occur following a certain event, such as taking antibiotics or even ibuprofen or aspirin, which may cause short-term hearing loss. Document your symptoms carefully and visit your doctor if they're lasting and interfering with your day-to-day living. Any abnormality should be noted, but the following tend to be the more common indications that something is amiss with your hearing:
- Sensitivity to sounds (of all kinds).
- Ringing and other odd sounds in one or both ears.
- Hearing muffled sounds, rather than clear ones.
- Asking people to speak up, often.
- Raising the volume on the television, to the extent that others complain it's too loud for them.
Your physician will likely refer you to a specialist, called an Otolaryngolist, or more commonly known as an ENT (ear, nose and throat doctor) after performing a hearing test and in accordance with your symptoms.
Common Causes For Hearing Deficiency
There are many potential culprits for hearing loss, but no matter what the cause, your case is special. You don't need to knock yourself out trying to justify or explain the condition, although knowing can ease the anxiety that comes with hearing problems. Consider the possible predispositions which may contribute to your individual circumstances:
- Genetic conditions are sometimes the cause of hearing loss, so research your family history.
- Age is a very common factor.
- A head injury.
- Some illnesses can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss.
- Prolonged exposure to loud noise.
In many instances, a doctor may also not be able to determine the cause of hearing loss, but will proceed with treatment accordingly. If your doctor can't attribute your hearing issues to any specific factor, you still need to be mindful of what you expose your ears to.
Methods Of Prevention
Even people without hearing impairment or loss should be careful to protect this precious sense and especially if you're experiencing trouble with your hearing, you should take precautionary measures:
- Reduce your exposure to loud noises whenever possible.
- Wear hearing protection, such as ear plugs, as needed.
- If you have issues with earwax, ask your doctor to irrigate, rather than risk removing the wax yourself, in order to avoid possible injury or aggravation.
- If you smoke, consider quitting, as the nicotine can impair neurotransmitter function in the actual auditory nerve system.
- Find out if any medications you're on could be impeding your hearing and switch to something else, if it's applicable.
The Importance Of Hearing Tests
Most especially if you're experiencing problems with your ears, the importance of testing cannot be overstated. Regular testing should be conducted on everyone, beginning at birth, but for those getting older, at genetic risk or simply worrying about whether or not they're hearing too many sounds, such as those common with Tinnitus, or hearing too few words, testing is essential for diagnostics and more:
- A hearing test can narrow the symptoms and lead to a determination of the exact cause of the problem.
- Hearing tests demonstrate the exact level of hearing loss or impairment, allowing for precise treatment.
- Having your ears tested could also lead to the discovery of issues not related to hearing, such as slow blood flow and other potentially dangerous conditions from heart disease to diabetes, as they often cause circulatory abnormalities affecting the ear.
There are different types of hearing tests your doctor or specialist may order, from ordinary sound detection to the more advanced Auditory Brainstem Response test, which measures electrical activity during sound stimulation. Have the recommended tests conducted, to help your medical team figure out what's going on with your hearing, so they can help you in the most proficient way possible.
Treatment For Hearing Loss
Once you know more about your hearing loss, you can make decisions about treatment. There are a number of different types of hearing aids designed to serve various purposes or something more dramatic may help your hearing, such as surgically-installed Cochlear Implants. Some hearing aids are nearly invisible, while others are more obvious and some fit inside or behind the ear, but no matter which is right for you, once you adjust to the device, you should start experiencing marked improvements in both your hearing and subsequent quality of life. There are also other ways in which your daily living can be enhanced, in order to accommodate the hearing loss:
- Ask people in your life to speak clearly, in a raised, but not shouting voice.
- Also ask them to speak while directly facing you, to avoid muffling or misdirection of their voice.
- Minimize background noises during conversations as much as possible, such as lowering devices or turning them off.
- Get regular hearing tests and follow through with your doctor's recommendations.
While hearing loss may be a serious, even scary situation, there are many ways to help yourself live a normal, productive and satisfying life. Get the help you need from professionals and friends and family alike and be sure not to take your ears and their powerful abilities for granted. For more information, contact companies like Eartech Hearing & Balance Professionals.