Understanding Hearing Loss

Understanding Hearing Loss

As one of our five senses, hearing is integral to communication, but 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 understand speech in the presence of background noise. Sufferers may still hear voices but it will be difficult to understand, especially higher-pitched voices of women and children.

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.

Communication Tips

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 face to face 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, 

  • Rephrase instead of repeat.

For more information, feel free to contact us. You can also visit our blog or video library.

Hearing Loss in Children

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.

Baby Girl with Soother

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 it 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.