What Did You Say?!
Hearing loss often occurs so gradually, that we may not be aware that our ability to hear has decreased. Those closest to us often notice it and point out those areas that may be affected (i.e. increased television volume and frequently asking people to repeat themselves.) This decline in hearing can greatly impact relationships and quality of life. Audiologists sometimes feel like a marriage or relationship counselor.
The most common causes of gradual hearing loss include: the natural aging process, noise exposure, genetics and medications. Our ears are designed to respond to all different pitch ranges, much like a piano. Most often, hearing loss begins in the high pitch region. This impacts the ability to understand speech in group settings when background noise is present and with softer spoken people with high pitch voices. People who experience declines in hearing will often feel like everyone “mumbles”. As hearing continues to decline, it can significantly impact communication between us and those we love.
Other symptoms associated with hearing declines include: ringing in the ears, or tinnitus, ear fullness, ear pain, drainage and dizziness or vertigo. Tinnitus is often a warning sign that you may have hearing loss. If you experience sudden hearing loss in one or both ears, contact your physician immediately. The only way to establish hearing capabilities is with a thorough hearing evaluation.
It is recommended that you have your hearing tested if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. It is beneficial to have a baseline of your hearing established in the case that you should experience hearing loss or any other medical issues with your ears.
During a hearing evaluation, a series of tests are conducted to evaluate each section of your ear. A qualified professional will begin by looking in your ears to establish that they are clear of earwax and infection. A pressure test may be conducted to evaluate the mechanical movement of the eardrum. You are then placed in a sound treated room and instructed to listen to extremely quiet tones. These tones serve to measure the softest levels you can hear at each pitch range. You will also be asked to repeat a list of words. This test is important because it allows us to establish how clearly your hearing nerve can transmit sound to your brain. A thorough hearing evaluation can identify the severity of hearing loss and where it may be coming from.
At Intermountain hearing centers, we believe in providing the best patient education possible. We want you to understand what you are experiencing and then work together as a team to establish the best treatment process to help you meet your hearing goals.