Discover what hearing loss is, the common types and causes and the treatments available. Then, schedule your free hearing screening at Beltone of Kansas today!
About one in six Americans have some degree of hearing loss. Beltone of Kansas is sharing the causes, types, symptoms and levels of hearing loss to help you understand what it is and how it’s treated.
Common Causes of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss has many causes, the most common of which are aging and prolonged exposure to loud noises. Hearing damage can also result from ear infections, head injuries, genetics, medications, tinnitus, Alzheimer’s disease and meningitis.
Temporary hearing loss
Sometimes, hearing loss is temporary and can be restored with medication, surgery or minor office procedures. Common culprits include ear infections, sinus issues, allergies, excessive earwax and some medications.
Hearing Loss Symptoms
Although everyone experiences hearing loss a little differently, there are some common signs.
- Difficulty hearing or understanding the words other people speak.
- Feeling that people mumble, drop words, slur or speak too softly or too quickly.
- Frequently asking people to repeat themselves.
- Trouble hearing telephone calls and video chats clearly.
- Blogging the ear that’s not next to the receiver during phone calls.
- Straining to make out words on the phone.
- Missing the doorbell, text message alerts or a phone ringing.
- Struggling to understand speech in places with a lot of ambient noise, like restaurants.
- Frequently turning up the television volume louder than others like.
- Hearing a ringing sound in both ears or just one (tinnitus).
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to get a comprehensive hearing screening to assess the level of hearing loss. Your Beltone of Kansas hearing care professional can evaluate your hearing and recommend the best hearing aids for your unique needs.
Tinnitus and Ringing in the EarsTinnitus is the perception of sounds that aren’t actually present, such as a buzzing, ringing or hissing in your ears. Although it’s not hearing loss, tinnitus can impact a person’s ability to hear and distinguish sounds. It’s a common condition with many causes that may come and go on its own. People with normal hearing may experience a ringing in their ears after a loud concert, for example. Tinnitus can be distracting, drawing a person’s attention away from their environment to focus intently on the unwanted noise.
The Beltone Tinnitus Calmer app can help distract your brain from the noise using relaxing exercises and sound therapy. Download it to your Apple or Android device today.
Schedule a FREE Hearing Test Today!
We look forward to speaking with you at one of our six Kansas hearing aid stores! By filling out this contact form, someone will call you shortly to schedule your FREE hearing appointment. We would love to meet you and help you hear the moments that you've been missing in your life.
Hearing Loss Types
There are three basic types of hearing loss and they’re classified according to the part of the ear that’s affected. Tiny nerves in our ears called hair cells help us hear sounds. We hear soft sounds with our outer hair cells, while high- and low-pitched sounds use inner hair cells. When these cells don’t work correctly, the brain doesn’t receive sounds.
Conductive Hearing Loss
A conductive hearing loss develops due to issues in the outer or middle ear. It’s often temporary and can sometimes be corrected with medication, surgery or even ear wax removal. Common causes include:
- An infection
- Was or fluid build-up
- An eardrum puncture
- Abnormal middle ear bone development (Otosclerosis)
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
About 90% of adult hearing loss is sensorineural. Sensorineural hearing damage results from issues with the auditory nerve and/or the cochlea. It’s typically related to aging or repeated exposure to loud noises and it’s commonly treated with hearing aids.
With this type of hearing loss, sounds seem quieter and distorted. Typically, the ability to hear high-pitched sounds is reduced first while lower-pitched sounds may seem normal.
Mixed Hearing Loss
As the name implies, mixed hearing loss is when both sensorineural losses happen together. Treatment may include some combination of medication, surgery, wax removal and/or hearing aids.
Measuring Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is measured in degrees. Based on the degree of loss, it’s then classified into mild, severe, and profound levels.
Degrees of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss levels are determined by the degree of loss, which is measured by the softest sounds in decibels that a person can hear. These are also called auditory thresholds.
- Normal Hearing – Auditory threshold 0 to 25 dB
- Mild Hearing Loss – Auditory threshold 25 to 40 dB
- Moderate Hearing Loss – Auditory threshold 40 to 60 dB
- Severe Hearing Loss – Auditory threshold 60 to 80 dB
- Profound Hearing Loss – Auditory threshold 80 dB or more
Hearing Loss Levels
- Mild – Soft speech is difficult to hear in noisy settings
- Moderate – Moderate speech is difficult to hear when there is background noise
- Severe – Loud speech is difficult to hear unless it is amplified
- Profound – Speech is difficult to hear and understand even when amplified
Mild-to-moderate hearing loss comes from losing some outer hair cells. People with this level of loss have trouble understanding women and children’s voices or other soft sounds. Severe hearing loss is a result of losing both outer and inner hair cells. People with severe loss have trouble hearing high- and low- pitched sounds as well as soft sounds.
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Impacts of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can happen gradually over time, so those who have it don’t always notice the sounds they’re missing. However, it impacts how we communicate with others and affects our family, work and social lives. Someone with hearing loss be withdraw from these situations and become more isolated, but treatment can reverse these effects and improve their quality of life.
Hearing Loss Treatment
If you have hearing loss, know that you’re not alone and there is something you can do about it. Using hearing aids can help you reconnect with others and make it easier to join in conversations. You’ll feel more confident engaging in social situations and gain the freedom to live life to the fullest. Being able to communicate better will help improve your relationships with family and friends so you can enjoy more time with them.
What to Do If You Suspect You Have Hearing Loss
Scheduling a free screening with a Beltone of Kansas hearing care professional will help you determine if you do have hearing loss and if so, to what degree. Then, you’ll receive customized hearing aid recommendations to help you restore both your hearing and your quality of life. Call us at 844-251-7226 or request an appointment online today.