Understanding Hearing Loss
As one of our five senses, hearing is integral to communication. Many people who suffer from hearing loss are either unaware or too embarrassed to address their condition. While you cannot reverse most hearing losses you can improve the quality of your hearing by working with an audiologist and taking advantage of the technology that’s available.
Typically those who suffer from hearing loss will initially struggle to hear or understand the higher-pitched voices of women and children. Sufferers may still hear voices but it will be difficult to understand.
There are five levels or degrees of hearing loss. A person with normal hearing can perceive very soft sounds, whereas a person with a profound loss can only distinguish sounds louder than 90 dB (decibels). To put it into perspective, a blender typically operates at 85 dB.
If your loved one suffers from hearing loss you can take the steps below to improve your communication with them:
Gain the person’s attention before speaking
Position yourself within 3-6 feet and remain at eye level to allow for visual clues
Use facial expressions and gestures to give clues to the meaning of your message
Speak slowly and distinctly using short, simple sentences
Raise your voice but do not shout because loud speech may sound distorted, speaking directly into a person’s ear can also distort your message
Hearing Loss in Children
As the area’s only pediatric audiologist, we see a number of children with hearing issues. Hearing impairment in children can make learning a big challenge. Similar to adults there are varying degrees of hearing loss, however, depending on the cause there may be help available.
Children with hearing loss typically fall into one of two categories. A conductive loss is the most common and is associated with conditions that can include ear infection, fluid in the ear, impacted ear wax, a perforated ear drum, a foreign object in the canal or birth defects that alter the canal. Many of these conditions are treatable through minor procedures or surgery.
Sensorineural loss is the second type. Most often, this type of loss is caused by congenital infections, the use of some antibiotics, premature birth with a very low birth weight and some of the resulting treatments or a number of other medical conditions. Although there is no cure for this type of loss in most cases, children can often be helped with hearing aids.
The following are symptoms of hearing loss to look for among children:
Newborn and infants:
Not startling at loud noises
Not showing normal speech development
Toddler and older:
Sitting close to the television with the sound turned up to a loud volume
Having difficulty in school
Not responding to someone who is talking without being face to face
Treatment of Tinnitus/Ringing in the Ear
Tinnitus is a ringing in one or both ears that is heard only by the affected individual. For some if sounds more like whistling, hissing, buzzing or a pulsing in your ear. For those who suffer from this condition every hour of every day it can substantially impact your life.
While there is no cure for tinnitus there are treatment options. For some their condition can be improved through the use of hearing technology that provides noise and music to eliminate the effects of tinnitus.
There are treatment options that do not require hearing devices but utilize therapy instead. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) combines hearing technology with intensive counseling.
If you suffer from ringing in the ears and would like to learn about your treatment options please call Professional Hearing Services.