Hearing loss can occur at any point in life, but it’s more common when you are getting older. About a third of the people in the United States over 65 have a degree of hearing loss, and those that are older than 75 with hearing loss fit in the category of one in two people dealing with it. Hearing loss is not simple to deal with when you are the person experiencing it, but with help from the right audiologist, you can have a hearing test performed to assess the level of hearing loss that you are experiencing. 

Understanding your hearing loss and have it appropriately diagnosed and treated properly will be the steps that you need to take for a comfortable and more social life. You want to be able to interact with people, and you can only do that when you are able to communicate effectively. Speaking to your audiologist can help you to do that in a way that makes you feel heard.

Hearing test types

Hearing loss is defined in three different ways, and these include:

  • Conductive hearing loss, which involves the outer or the middle ear
  • Sensorineural hearing loss, which involves the inner ear 
  • Mixed hearing loss, which is a combination of the two 

Contributors to hearing loss

The two most significant contributors to hearing loss are aging and exposure to loud noises. Lifestyle definitely plays a part, and other factors like earwax can even reduce how well your ears conduct sound. Most types of hearing loss are not reversible, and your audiologist can talk you through the hearing loss that you are suffering with and help you to manage it. 

Symptoms of hearing loss

There are plenty of signs and symptoms to be aware of, as you can then understand whether the sensory issues that you are experiencing are hearing loss or something else. Here are some of the symptoms to watch out for and discuss with your audiologist at your next appointment:

  • Difficulty with understanding speech
  • Muffling of speech and other sounds
  • Trouble with hearing certain letter sounds
  • Continually turning up the TV or radio to be able to hear it
  • Social withdrawal
  • Avoiding conversations

When you should see an audiologist

If you have noticed that you are suddenly unable to hear, or the people in your life are telling you that you’re not hearing them very well when they speak, book yourself an appointment. Your audiologist should be able to talk you through diagnosing and treating the issue. 

How your hearing loss is diagnosed

There are plenty of tests that your audiologist will perform to diagnose and treat your hearing loss. These can include:

A physical exam

Your doctor will look at your external ear as well as the inside with light to look for any blockages with earwax. They’ll also look for inflammation and infection, and your audiologist will also be able to check for structural causes of hearing loss.

Hearing screening 

There are some tests that your audiologist will perform, including a whisper test where they will ask you to cover one ear at a time to see how well you can hear words at varying levels. They will then measure how accurate it is.

Tuning tests

Tuning forks have two prongs and produce sound when they are struck. Simple tests with these can help your audiologist to determine the hearing loss you are experiencing.

Hearing loss treatment

If you do have hearing loss, or other auditory issues, help is there if you ask for it. The treatment depends significantly on the cause and how severe your hearing loss really is. The options for treatment include:

  • Removing blockages: Using a suction to remove built-up earwax can help your hearing loss greatly if that’s the cause. 
  • Hearing aids: If your hearing loss is because of damage in the inner ear, a hearing aid can be very helpful going forward. Your audiologist can talk you through which hearing aids will fit your ears and your lifestyle.
  • Treatment of underlying condition: If your hearing loss is caused by a sickness like an ear infection, treating your underlying condition will typically restore your hearing.
  • Lifestyle modifications: Modifying your lifestyle may also successfully remedy your hearing loss. This may include switching medications, quitting smoking or reducing stress. A doctor should be consulted before utilizing lifestyle modification treatments.

For more information about your hearing loss and booking an appointment with an audiologist, you should look to learn more about Hearing & Balance Centers of West Tennessee. The phone numbers for each location include Jackson at (731) 256-5973, Memphis at (901) 201-6761