Hearing Loss

Understanding Hearing Loss

Trouble with hearing and understanding conversations in crowded environments? Losing a few words when your young child or grandchild speaks? These are signs of hearing loss, a condition South Coast Ear, Nose & Throat frequently sees and treats. Learn the symptoms of hearing loss, why they happen and what you can do to hear better.

Types of hearing loss

The American Speech, Hearing and Language Association says there are two basic categories of hearing loss:

  • Conductive hearing loss resulting from a physical defect or blockage of sound waves entering the ear canal
  • Sensorineural, a permanent hearing loss, involving the hair cells in the ear and the auditory nerve to the brain

Some people experience a mix of both conductive and sensorineural problems. Typically, sensorineural hearing loss involves hereditary factors, aging (presbycusis) and either exposure to repeated or to sudden loud noise (rock music or explosions/gunfire as examples).

Additionally, loss of hearing may be single-sided or bilateral. Single-sided often stems from a medical condition such as Meniere's Disease. Tinnitus, a constant roaring or ringing sound in one or both ears, may accompany single-sided or bilateral hearing loss.

Impacts of hearing loss

Hearing loss has several detrimental impacts across the age spectrum. In other words, whatever the developmental stage of life, impairing hearing changes behavior, learning, social interaction, language, communication and self-esteem. Specifically, the problems associated with reduced hearing are:

  • Poor concentration
  • Social withdrawal
  • Panic attacks and anxiety
  • Depression

These issues escalate when people postpone or ignore the need for proper evaluation and treatment. Conversely, the National Council on Aging cites research which indicates the diagnosis and use of hearing aids dramatically improve the quality of life of people with hearing deficits.

Getting tested

Dr. Michelle Phillips is the on-staff audiologist at South Coast Ear, Nose & Throat. She evaluates patients of all ages for problems with hearing and balance and directs them to devices and lifestyle habits conducive to better hearing.

Call one of our three offices

Get the help you require for your hearing loss. Contact one of the three locations of South Coast Ear, Nose & Throat for a thorough examination and treatment plan suited to your specific needs.

Looking to treat your hearing loss? Call South Coast Ear, Nose & Throat,
located in Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, and Okeechobee, to learn about your options!