Here are answers to some of the most common questions we are asked about hearing issues.  Feel free to call us if you need assistance.

Will my doctor notice my hearing loss?

Not likely since many hearing impaired individuals hear well in quiet environments, like your doctor’s office.  It can be very difficult for your doctor to recognize this problem so you should mention your hearing concerns to them so that you can be referred for a hearing test.  Only an audiologist or hearing instrument specialist can determine the severity of your hearing problem and whether or not you would benefit from a hearing aid.

What are the different types of hearing loss?

  1. Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss and can be treated with hearing aids.
  2. Conductive hearing loss can usually be treated medically or surgically.
  3. Mixed hearing loss is a combination of a sensorineural hearing loss and a conductive hearing loss.

Are there medications or surgery that can improve my hearing?

Unfortunately only a small percentage of hearing loss in adults can be improved medically or surgically.  The vast majority of people with hearing loss will need hearing aids.

Why do I have difficulty hearing in noisy environments?

One of the first symptoms of a high-frequency hearing loss is increased difficulty understanding speech in noisy situations.  Also, as we age our ears and brain don’t separate the speech you want to hear from the background noise.  When this filtering/processing system doesn’t work well, all the sounds get jumbled together.  This makes it very hard to understand speech in noise.

Why do family members think that I have selective hearing?

People with normal hearing have a hard time understanding hearing loss.  In fact hearing loss is often not a total inability to hear but rather a diminished sensitivity to sound particularly in the range of speech sounds.  The definition of selective hearing is a term used when someone actually ignores things that they don’t want to hear.

Can ear wax cause hearing loss?

Yes, a blockage in the ear canal from earwax build up can prevent sounds from getting to the eardrum.  If you think that earwax may be causing an issue with your hearing it is best to get an appointment with your family doctor so that he/she can examine your ear canal and determine if this is the reason for your hearing concerns.

Why does my child cover their ears when they hear a loud sound?

Hyperacusis is an abnormal sensitivity to sound which arises from a problem in the way the brain’s central auditory processing center perceives noise. Individuals will often feel discomfort when they hear everyday sounds that are easily tolerated by others.  People suffering from hyperacusis shouldn’t be given earplugs or other devices designed to lessen the loudness of sounds since this may actually lead to an increase in sensitivity.

The links below can provide additional information about hyperacusis.