We talk a lot about hearing problems and cover a variety of topics. These are causes of hearing loss, advice on maintaining a happy relationship, using hearing aids, etc. Audiology Island wants every American to take care of their hearing.
After all, hearing plays a vital role in everyone’s life. That’s why we try to sort out relevant topics in detail, helping people with hearing difficulties.
Often new patients are not aware of their problem, although they hear, but don’t always understand the speaker. Our audiologists are already used to a simple question: “Do I have hearing loss?” Unfortunately, our answer is almost always: “Yes”. At the same time, the patient still doesn’t believe that there are some hearing problems. Well, let’s take a look at what tells us about a problem that cannot be ignored or forgotten!
When to worry about hearing problems?
Hearing loss often develops gradually. Therefore, a person doesn’t notice difficulties, gradually getting used to them. The person continues to live until the problem reaches a serious level or relatives force them to seek help. Of course, there is also sudden hearing loss, which occurs unexpectedly and significantly reduces hearing in a matter of hours. However, this rarely happens, and we have already discussed the problem.
Various reasons lead to hearing loss. These are excessive noise exposure, congenital pathologies, head and ear injuries, infectious complications, drug side effects. In addition, hearing decreases with age. Problems usually start at age 50. By this time, the hair cells of the auditory nerve are badly worn out. As a result, the auditory receptors lose their function, and the patient begins to lose the ability to recognize external sounds.
Dr. Stella Fulman highlights the symptoms of hearing loss, which indicate the presence of a problem:
difficulty understanding speech, especially due to background noise
feeling that others are talking indistinctly
difficulty communicating on the phone
the need to increase the volume of the TV more than other people need
requests to repeat what was said, as well as cases of erroneous perception of what was said
it is difficult to hear female voices and voices of small children
difficulties in perceiving sounds of nature, for example, the noise of rain, birdsong
the need to read lips to understand what the speaker is saying
The audiologist will conduct hearing tests using special equipment and, based on the results of the audiogram, make a final diagnosis with appropriate treatment. What is an audiogram? This is a detailed graph, which shows the patient’s hearing thresholds. It’s required to determine the type and level of hearing loss in each ear. The audiogram has two axes:
vertical – the level of hearing loss in decibels
horizontal – frequency in hertz
The audiogram contains a variety of labels used to distinguish the types of measurements taken. The procedure is quite simple and painless, so it’s performed with both adults and children.
Before audiometry, our patients often complain that they don’t understand speech well. The aforementioned symptoms of hearing loss add to the problem with recognizing consonants such as s, f, th, sh, v, etc. As a result, a person confuses “cat” and “hat”, “show” and “throw”. It’s a hallmark of high-frequency hearing loss.
If a person does not hear sounds in a certain range of high frequencies, then he has high-frequency hearing loss. In units of measurement, it varies from 2000 to 8000 Hz. This problem, although specific, is quite common in the world. According to medical statistics, in America, approximately 30% of the population is affected, especially the elderly.
Without treatment, hearing loss harms all areas of human activity. It’s more difficult for a person to understand colleagues and loved ones. Over time, a person isolates himself from society. Depression and other psychological problems develop. So even mild hearing loss cannot be ignored!
Didn’t the hearing test results answer your question?
Most often, the results of hearing tests give a clear picture and allow you to answer the question: “Do I have hearing loss”? But keep in mind, that the hearing system is not just about the ears. It also includes the auditory nerve and even parts of the brain, responsible for processing signals from the outside world. Therefore, sometimes research results show no problem, but hearing problems actually exist. What could it be?
Auditory processing disorder (APD)
Misunderstanding of speech and external sounds may indicate Auditory processing disorders. The term encompasses various disorders, affecting the way the brain processes auditory information. People with APD can hear normally. However, they cannot process the information they hear. APD is common in children (2–7% of children in the US), but it’s also diagnosed in adults.
Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by overly active work of the brain. As a result, the brain doesn’t always cope with the processing of incoming information, including external sounds. The patient may pass a hearing test, but still not understand the speech, especially in a noisy place.
Hidden hearing loss
Hidden hearing loss occurs due to improper processing of signals entering the brain. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to detect it by audiological methods of hearing analysis. The study doesn’t reveal any abnormalities. But a person stops hearing, or rather, distinguishing speech among other sounds in a noisy atmosphere (shopping center, party, noisy street). With a normal auditory threshold, the brain loses the ability to select and decode individual words.
What should I do?
Don’t panic if you notice symptoms of hearing loss. Remember, today millions of Americans have hearing problems. They successfully cope with difficulties and lead happy life.
Of course, you shouldn’t take difficulty hearing as the norm. The right decision in such a situation would be to consult with a specialist. The doctor will conduct all the necessary studies and, according to the results, will prescribe treatment. You just have to follow the directions and recommendations of the audiologist.
Daily use of hearing aids is an effective solution to many heading problems. Miniature devices are selected individually for each patient. Thanks to such an approach, a person restores lost hearing and does not experience discomfort. I would like to point out that hearing aids help with both hearing loss, APD, and ADD.
Do I have hearing loss? Audiology Island will answer your question and help you cope with all hearing difficulties!
About Dr Stella Fulman
Dr. Stella Fulman, AU.D., CCC-A received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Audiology from Brooklyn College in 2004 and her Doctorate of Audiology from Salus University in 2008. [ Learn More ]