Frequently asked questions:
What are the warning signs of a hearing loss?
Do you feel that people mumble and do not speak clearly?
Do you understand some people better than others?
Do you frequently ask people to speak up or repeat themselves?
Do you have difficulty understanding on the phone?
Do you find it difficult to follow a conversation in a crowded room or with background noise?
Do you turn the volume of the television or radio up louder than is comfortable for others?
Do you find it difficult to hear in public places, such as an auditorium or church?
Do family and friends comment on your inability to hear?
Do you ever concentrate to listen so hard that you become fatigued?
Do you have ringing in your ears?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may have a hearing loss and should have your hearing evaluated by a hearing professional. It is recommended that everyone have his or her hearing tested annually.
Can hearing loss affect me mentally?
Yes, with a hearing loss, it is usually very difficult to understand speech and distinguish sounds. What most people don't understand is that a patient's emotional and mental state may also be affected by the continuous disruption of communication patterns caused by hearing loss. A patient with hearing loss is four times more likely to manifest psychological disturbances than a person with normal hearing. There is also evidence that hearing loss can actually help the behavioral picture and patterns of patients with Alzheimer's and other cognitive disorders.
What causes that ringing or noise in my ears?
(Tinnitus) The medical term for ringing or noise.
Ringing or noise can be caused by many things including; in the absence of stimulating sound from outside of the ear can be caused by many things, from fatigue or tiredness, certain medications including aspirin etc... Most experts agree that the ringing is due to spontaneous activity in the cochlea. Although the most common cause of tinnitus is hearing loss, and in particular sensorineural hearing loss. This is probably because patients with sensorineural hearing loss have some or much damage in the cochlea that is causing the hearing loss. It is these damaged sections that are presumed to be producing the spontaneous activity that leads a patient to hear ringing or noise in their ear.
What if I have a hearing loss and do not receive treatment for it?
If you have a hearing loss that is caused by a medically treatable problem, the problem could obviously get worse over time without treatment. If the hearing loss is due to a condition such as a lesion or tumor or other medical condition in the auditory system, this could be potentially life threatening.
Whether the condition is medically treatable such as most conductive losses, or due to damage such as noise exposure or age, the result in the brain and ears are the same, they do not get stimulated. This is called auditory deprivation. The brain is not getting stimulated by sound or is getting distorted versions of the sound due to the damage in the auditory system.
There have been many studies done on auditory deprivation to determine the long term effects on the brain. These studies suggest that if the brain is not stimulated properly, the potential to "FORGET" how to hear is greatly increased and is closely related to the length of time that brain goes without stimulation. The longer the patient goes without treatment (including amplification if that is warranted or required) the more likely it is the brain will forget how to hear and understand speech properly even after treatment is implemented. These findings suggest that it is important to seek appropriate treatment in a timely manner for hearing loss if the brain is to maintain its ability to understand speech and keep things working and healthy as possible.