More than 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. There are three major types of hearing loss, but every individual’s experience is affected by different factors, such as genetics, age and exposure to noise.
The three types of hearing loss are conductive, sensorineural and mixed. Conductive hearing loss is maybe due to problems with the ear canal, eardrum or middle ear that prevent sound from passing through the ear. Sensorineural hearing loss is maybe caused by problems with the inner ear (the cochlea) or the nerves coming from the cochlea, which senses sound waves and sends them to the brain for processing. Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both conductive and sensorineural. Our clinicians will determine what type of hearing loss you are experiencing and develop an effective and specialized treatment plan for your unique hearing needs.
Symptoms of hearing loss can go unnoticed if you don’t know what to look for. A very common symptom is difficulty hearing in noisy settings such as at a restaurant or party. Other symptoms include frequently asking people to repeat themselves, ringing in the ears, turning up the TV or radio volume louder than others need it and withdrawing from conversations. In children, symptoms of hearing loss may include not responding to noises, speaking unclearly and not following simple commands.
If you experience sudden deafness due to a loud noise or any other reason, you should seek immediate medical attention. While most hearing loss is gradual, one can have a sudden hearing loss. This can be an emergency.
Please contact us at (479) 750-2080 to schedule an appointment if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of hearing loss.
Age-Associated Hearing Loss
Roughly one in three people between ages 65 and 74 in the United States has hearing loss. This number is even greater for those over 75 – nearly one in two. Age-associated hearing loss, also called presbycusis, is one of the most common conditions in aging seniors.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. It is the permanent hearing impairment that results from prolonged exposure to loud noises or a single exposure to an especially loud noise such as an explosion. Those who are most likely to suffer from noise-induced hearing loss are people who work in noisy environments such as construction sites, airports, concert venues or military bases.
Sudden Hearing Loss
Sudden hearing loss is considered a medical emergency – those who experience this phenomenon should contact their doctors immediately. It usually occurs just in one ear either at once or over several days. Causes may include infection, trauma, ototoxic drugs, a tumor or blood circulation problems. Sudden hearing loss is diagnosed by an audiogram (hearing test.)