If you recently found out that you or a loved one is suffering from hearing loss, you probably have a lot of questions about the condition. Below are answers to some of the most common questions asked about hearing loss.
- What are the symptoms?
The primary symptom of hearing loss is an inability to hear speech or other sounds as well as you once did. You may find yourself asking people to repeat what they say, turning up the television or avoiding social interaction altogether. Some people also experience ringing or buzzing in the ear.
- Is this condition common?
According to the National Institutes of Health, hearing loss affect 36 million adults in the United States. This amounts to approximately 17 percent of the population.
- How did it happen?
A number of different factors can contribute to hearing loss, including age, genetics, exposure to noise, infection and injury to the eardrum. One or more of these factors are likely responsible for your hearing deficits.
- How is hearing loss diagnosed?
Hearing loss is usually diagnosed with a physical exam and a hearing test.
- Are all cases of hearing loss the same?
There are varying degrees of hearing loss. To determine the severity of your condition, your doctor will measure your ability to hear at different volumes.
- Is hearing loss the same in both ears?
For some people, the degree of hearing loss may be different in each year.
- Did medication cause my hearing loss?
Some medications, such as certain antibiotics, diuretics and aspirin, may cause hearing loss.
- Did my job cause my hearing loss?
Occupations that expose you to loud noises, frequent pressure changes, head injuries or chemicals that damage the ears may contribute to hearing loss.
- Will it get worse?
Hearing loss can progress over time.
- What can I do to protect my ears?
To protect your ears from further damage, avoid dangerously loud noises, infection and trauma to the head or inner ears.
- What treatments are available?
Treatment for hearing loss will depend on the cause and severity. Common treatments include antibiotics for infection, eliminating toxic medication and the use of assistive devices.
- Do I need a hearing aid?
Your doctor will help you determine whether you need a hearing aid based on the severity of your condition.
- Do I need a cochlear implant?
Cochlear implants are designed for people with profound hearing loss. Your doctor can help you decide whether this treatment is appropriate for you.
- Can I get my hearing back?
If your hearing loss is caused by a reversible condition, such as infection, you may be able to get it back.
- Will removing earwax help?
In some cases, a buildup of earwax in the ear may cause hearing loss. Hearing will improve if the earwax is removed. However, earwax buildup is not the only cause of hearing loss.
- Will hearing loss cause dementia?
There is a correlation between hearing loss and cognitive problems. However, there is no evidence that hearing loss is a direct cause of dementia.
- How do I know what treatment I need?
Your doctor can give you treatment advice based on the specifics of your condition.
- How will this affect my life?
Left unchecked, hearing loss can reduce your enjoyment of life, harm your relationships and impact your mental health. However, you can avoid these issues with the right treatment.
- Are doctors researching hearing loss?
Researchers are continuously searching for new ways to prevent and treat hearing loss.
- What do I do if I think I am losing my hearing?
If you suspect that you are suffering from hearing loss, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the problem.