Hearing loss can affect anyone, at any point during a person’s life. Hearing loss typically develops gradually, you may not initially notice the loss of subtle everyday sounds, yet before you know it, you are missing sounds that are critical to effective communication. Living with untreated loss means struggling understanding conversations with loved ones difficulty in restaurants, meetings and other social environments. One-on-one it may seem people are mumbling.
Contributing Factors that Impact Hearing Loss:
• Advanced Age
• Noise Induced Hearing Loss
• Sudden Hearing Loss
Types of Hearing Loss
Conductive Hearing Loss – occurs when a condition or disease is causing insufficient conduction of sound to the inner ear (cochlea). Problems may be within the ear canal, eardrum, or middle ear space and its little bones (malleus, incus and stapes). This results in the loudness reduction of sounds. Once the sound is loud enough, the ear works in a normal way. This type of hearing loss may be medically or surgically treated, resulting in complete or partial improvements in hearing.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss – occurs with a problem in the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve. There may be damage to the hair cells, a problem with the fluids in the inner ear, or dysfunction in the nerve pathway. This results in reduced intensity and distortion of sound even when the sound is loud enough. This type of hearing loss usually is not corrected medically or surgically and is considered permanent.
Mixed Hearing Loss – occurs when a combination of conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss exist. This means there may be damage to the ear canal, eardrum or middle ear AND the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve. This results in hearing abilities worse than the sensorineural loss alone.
Addressing Hearing Loss
The first step to addressing any potential hearing loss is to schedule a diagnostic hearing evaluation. Western Hearing Aid Center uses the most advanced technology available and we will take the time to discuss your results and any recommendations we may have. Deciding to address hearing loss can be a difficulty decision however the longer you wait to address your hearing loss the more difficult it is to treat.
With treatment patients can live fuller more engaged lives, without treatment patients may experience:
- Social isolation
- Cognitive decline
Research Links Cognitive Decline & Hearing Loss
Left untreated, hearing loss is found to be linked to accelerated brain tissue loss.
“Although the brain becomes smaller with age, the shrinkage seems to be fast-tracked in older adults with hearing loss, according to the results of a study by researchers from Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging. The findings add to a growing list of health consequences associated with hearing loss, including increased risk of dementia, falls, hospitalizations, and diminished physical and mental health overall.”