Hearing Loss: Diagnosis and Treatment
Hearing loss is amongst the most common chronic health conditions in the US, with an estimated 20% of all people reporting some level of hearing loss according to a study from the Hearing Loss Association of America. Your audiologist can help you diagnose and find a solution that can help combat that hearing loss.
However, since most people don’t have much reason to think about hearing loss until they experience it for themselves, it’s not uncommon that they have an idea on how it’s diagnosed or treated. Here, we’re going to look a little further into just that.
How hearing loss is diagnosed
In most cases, hearing loss is diagnosed through what’s called a hearing test. The appointment during a hearing test often involves multiple examinations, however. They tend to begin with a series of questions about your lifestyle, the hearing environments you live and work in, medical history and any past ear trauma or conditions. This is followed by a physical examination. The audiologist will look inside your ear using a device called an otoscope. This can help them find issues like earwax or infections that could be affecting your hearing, as well as any structural issues.
The hearing test begins in earnest after this. This usually involves playing a range of noises and speech in a soundproof room. You will be asked to respond to or repeat the noises you hear. This helps the audiologist complete an audiogram, which is a graph that shows how well you can hear different volumes of noise, with the noises varying in pitch or frequency. Other tests, such as one that measures the response of your eardrum under different levels of air pressure, or the response of the mastoid bone in the inner ear, may be carried out if the audiologist believes they are necessary.
How hearing loss is treated
In the vast majority of cases, hearing aids are the most effective choice for treating hearing loss. They may not be suited to those with the most profound levels of hearing loss, but in most circumstances, they can offer a substantial improvement. Following the hearing test, your audiologist will go over the results of the audiogram with you. They will help you understand the level of hearing loss you have, as well as how it affects high pitches, low pitches and speech.
Another appointment will be arranged, during which you and the audiologist will look at the different hearing aids available. There are different styles of hearing aid available, including in the ear and behind the ear devices, each of them best suited to different levels of hearing loss. They also come with a range of features, such as wind noise cancellation and Bluetooth capabilities. Your audiologist will work with you to understand your needs and preferences, helping you choose the best suited hearing aid.
Once the right hearing aid is selected, they may need to make a mold of your ear so that a fitting device can be made. Otherwise, they will arrange a future appointment, during which the device will be fitted, adjusted and you will be taught how to use and care for your hearing aids.
Adjusting after diagnosis
It can some time to acclimate to hearing aids. You won’t be wearing them all day immediately, but rather may start off wearing them only for a couple of hours a day. Over time, you will wear them for longer and longer periods until you are able to wear them all day, outside of nighttime and showering.
Your audiologist can help you get used to life with hearing loss, as well. This can include ongoing advice and maintenance of your hearing aids. They may also have plenty of advice and resources to offer for those who need to find new communication techniques to help them socialize and to better enjoy their relationships with their family and friends.
Audiologists are hearing, ear and balance health specialists who can be an important part of your hearing health journey. As such, if you ever have any concerns about your hearing or hearing aid, they should be the first source of information and help that you turn to.
Diagnose and treat your hearing loss today
Whether you’re concerned that you might have hearing loss, but you’re uncertain, or you have already been diagnosed and want to know how to treat it, your audiologist is the best-suited help available. Learn more and get in touch with Tops Hearing & Balance Center by calling us at 281-920-3911.