Diagnosing and Treating Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can begin gradually, causing subtle symptoms that steadily worsen until you recognize that there is an issue. For example, you may begin to misinterpret speech that others can easily understand. Or, you may turn up the sound on the TV, computer, and car radio, while others complain about the volume. Many associate loss of hearing with advanced age, but aging is only one of several potential causes. The experts at Chesapeake Ear Nose & Throat can provide diagnoses and effective hearing loss treatment at our Owing Mills, Westminster, and Baltimore, MD, offices. To make an appointment, please contact our office today.
Causes of Hearing Loss
There are many causes of auditory decline. Injury, such as a traumatic brain injury, can affect hearing, as well as acoustic trauma from exposure to extremely loud noise. Autoimmune and other diseases can also cause a rapid decline in hearing, and these symptoms should be treated as quickly as possible.
Hearing loss can interfere with your ability to communicate with family and friends. Our audiology specialists and otolaryngologists can help.
Most often, declining hearing takes place over an extended period of time. The most common cause is presbycusis, which affects 30-35 percent of adults over 65, and as many as 50 percent of people over 75. This sensorineural hearing loss is brought about by gradual changes, primarily in the inner ear. A inability to hear higher-pitched sounds is most noticeable, with both ears usually being equally affected. Presbycusis can also be a conductive hearing disorder caused by abnormalities of the outer ear, middle ear, or both.
In recent years, an increasing number of younger adults are showing signs of presbycusis. Regular exposure to loud noise, including music, traffic, or industrial noise may be a factor. Genetics can also play a part, along with medical conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, vascular conditions from diabetes, and other circulatory problems.
Other causes of diminishing hearing include:
- Conditions of the middle ear – Several treatable conditions can cause a loss of hearing in children and adults, including infections and trapped fluid from swimmer’s ear or allergies. Otosclerosis is a disease of the middle ear that can be treated with hearing aids and often surgery.
- Meniere's disease – This disease of the inner ear can develop at any time, but generally appears between the ages of 40 and 60. In addition to hearing loss, sufferers may experience vertigo (dizziness), a ringing in the ears, or tinnitus, and a sense of congestion in the ear. Sometimes symptoms are mild, but patients can experience severe hearing loss.
- Ototoxic Medications – Large doses of aspirin, some types of antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, loop diuretics, and other medications can contribute to hearing loss. Some drugs only cause temporary hearing loss, however others can cause severe and permanent damage.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Using state-of-the-art audiology equipment, the physicians at Chesapeake Ear Nose & Throat can determine your degree of hearing loss and recommend appropriate treatment. Some auditory conditions can be successfully reversed, but others cannot. For permanent loss, a range of options are available to greatly enhance your hearing ability.
Many patients can regain hearing using auditory aids. Today’s hearing aids are more effective and aesthetically pleasing than ever before. We offer multiple sizes of hearing aids and options with Bluetooth® connectivity for phones and entertainment.
Learn More About Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can interfere with your ability to communicate with family and friends. Our audiology specialists and otolaryngologists can help. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.