Many hearing aid shops only do basic tests before they try to sell you a hearing aid. But we do comprehensive audiograms and tympanograms that check how well you hear through the air, how well you hear through bone (that’s how you can hear yourself even if you can plug your ears!), and how well you can distinguish speech.
Since we’re a full medical practice, we have the whole range of treatments for hearing loss available in the very same office—from earwax removal or a hearing aid in one ear to. extensive ear surgery.
Who Suffers from Hearing Loss?
30 million Americans have some form of hearing loss. Contrary to popular belief, people of all ages encounter hearing loss.
All children with an ear infection or fluid have hearing loss equal to wearing ear plugs with some losing even more hearing.
Generally, hearing loss with ear infections is temporary. However, chronic ear infections could lead to permanent hearing loss including the ability to understand speech in a noisy environment such as a classroom. In young children this could lead to a delay in speech and language skills.
Teens and young adults can get hearing loss from repeated exposure to loud in ear audio devices, lawn mowers and other engines. Don’t rely on pain as a test. It takes a sound of about 120 dB or greater to cause pain in your ears. A gunshot (140dB) causes permanent hearing loss. iPod volumes can reach up to 120 dB.
Over a lifetime, the impact of our noisy world impairs hearing slowly and by age 65 one in three adults has a hearing loss.
Most people do not know they have hearing loss. For one thing, hearing loss is invisible. Age-related hearing trouble sneaks up over 10 or 20 years. People may not notice the changes. Children and teens’ hearing loss is misunderstood as slow development or not wanting to listen.
What Can I Do?
Turn it off and turn it down is the best advice. If you can’t avoid damaging noises, protect your ears. Earplugs can muffle the sound. Ear protectors that fit over the ears cuts out even more noise.
If you answer yes to any of the following questions, a complete hearing evaluation should be performed:
- Do you have a problem hearing over the telephone or in a noisy background?
- Do people complain that you turn the TV volume up too high?
- Do the people you talk to seem to mumble?
- Have you had frequent ear infections?
- Do you work in a noisy environment?
In workplaces that exceed 85dB noise level, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates hearing inspections for employees in order to discern the early signs of hearing loss, which is considered an on-the-job injury. For those subjected to loud noises on a regular basis, such as musicians, construction workers, manufacturing workers, a hearing test can be used as a “baseline” against which any further hearing loss can be judged.