Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the United States and affects approximately 48 million Americans. It is usually caused by aging, and it can often progress so gradually that the individual may not realize at first that he or she is losing the ability to hear over time. The likelihood of hearing loss is extremely high for people over the age of 65, and grows even higher for those over 75. Other common causes include prolonged and habitual exposure – often as the result of a noisy workplace – to loud sounds, side effects of a medication, illnesses, or injuries. However, it is important to rule out other, more serious causes of hearing loss than mere aging. That’s why it is important to be examined by the medical professionals at CNC Hearing and Balance. They can determine whether your loss in hearing is due to aging or a medical issue such as infection, tumors, middle ear fluid from infection or Eustachian tube dysfunction, foreign body; and trauma (as in a skull fracture).
There are four different degrees of hearing loss under which a doctor might classify a patient: mild, moderate, severe, and profound. Hearing loss is considered mild if the individual can still understand one-on-one conversations, but may miss some words if there is background noise. People with moderate hearing loss frequently need to ask others to repeat themselves. Severe hearing loss involves being mostly unable to keep up with a conversation without using a hearing aid, and profound hearing loss means that the individual cannot hear others at all without a hearing aid unless they are speaking very loudly.
The staff at CNC Hearing and Balance is trained to recognize the specific types and underlying causes of hearing loss so that the most appropriate treatment option can be selected.
In certain cases, they may be able to reverse medical or nerve hearing loss using anti-inflammatory, circulatory, or anti-infection treatments.
Other options include reconstructing the ear drum or ossicles, small bones involved in hearing, or a laser procedure called a stapedectomy can bypass one of these bones and use a special prosthesis to help recover hearing. Finally, some patients may benefit from sound amplification methods such as traditional or implantable hearing aids.