Hearing Loss

Understand the causes and effects of hearing loss.

What is Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss affects anyone of any age. Hearing loss is the inability to hear certain tones and frequencies in one or both ears. When left untreated, hearing loss can have a negative impact on your health and mental well-being. You need your hearing to effectively communicate with loved ones, to hear your favorite sounds, and to keep your brain active.

Hearing loss can be caused by many factors, that’s why it is important to come in for a hearing check if you suspect there is something wrong. Hearing loss can happen because of:

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Head or ear trauma
  • Loud noise exposure
  • Toxic medications
  • Impacted earwax
  • Ear infection

Signs of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss often happens gradually, over the course of a couple years. For this reason, it can be difficult to recognize the signs right away. Some common indications of hearing loss are:

  • You listen to the TV at a loud volume
  • You ask people to repeat themselves often
  • You feel unusually tired after conversations
  • You hear a ringing in your ears
  • Sounds seem muffled
  • It’s hard to hear when there is background noise
  • You often mishear information or feel confused

If you have experienced any of the above, it’s time for a hearing test.

Hearing and Brain Health

Your hearing plays a much larger role in your health and well-being than you may know. Hearing is directly related to brain health. This is because we don’t hear with our ears, but with our brain. When sound travels through the ear, it eventually makes it way to the auditory cortex of the brain. This is where we process sound and make meaning of the sounds we hear.

When left untreated, hearing loss can have negative effects on brain health and can lead to more serious issues, such as cognitive decline and even dementia. In order to keep your brain healthy, it’s important to manage hearing loss at the first signs. Hearing aids are a great way to keep your brain healthy because they allow you to hear the sounds you have been missing.

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Pediatric Audiology

At Alliance Hearing Center, we provide comprehensive hearing services to patients of all ages, including children. Your child’s hearing plays a vital role in their social, emotional, and cognitive development. If you suspect your child has a hearing loss, it’s important to bring them in for a hearing evaluation. Our audiologists have years of experience diagnosing hearing loss in children.

It’s important to recognize the signs of hearing loss in your child. Some indications of hearing loss include:

  • They have limited, poor, or no speech
  • They are inattentive
  • They have difficulty learning
  • They fail to respond to conversation-level speech
  • They answer inappropriately
  • They don’t respond to their name
  • They need to have the TV at a higher volume

If your child has shown any of these signs of hearing loss, please contact us for an appointment.

Ear Diseases and Other Conditions

No matter what kind of ear disease or hearing disorder is affecting you, the experienced audiologists at Alliance Hearing Center can help you.

Ear infections affect both children and adults. This occurs when a virus or bacteria enters the ear canal, causing the middle ear to become inflamed or build up fluid, causing pain. Ear infections can create a blockage of the eustachian tube, which can be caused by a cold, allergies, smoking, or a problem with the adenoids.

Swimmer’s ear is a condition similar to an ear infection. This occurs when bacteria grows inside the ear canal and causes an infection. This often happens when swimming or when water remains in the ear. Symptoms of swimmer’s ear can range from mild to advanced and include:

  • Itching in your ear canal
  • Redness in your ear canal
  • Mild discomfort that’s made worse by pulling on your outer ear
  • Drainage of clear, odorless fluid
  • Decreased or muffled hearing
  • Feeling of fullness inside your ear
  • Fever

If you think you may have swimmer’s ear, please contact us for an appointment. We can look inside your ears and diagnose any problems.

Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disease that causes pain or pressure in the ear. It causes fluid build-up in the inner ear and the part of the cochlea called the organ of Corti to become swollen, leading to possible symptoms of fullness, dizziness, and fluctuating hearing loss.

Additional symptoms of Meniere’s disease often include:

  • Pain
  • Dizziness
  • Hearing loss
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Feelings of fullness in the ear
  • Recurring episodes of vertigo or dizziness

Symptoms can vary depending on the person and may last for several days or can be an isolated incident.

Otosclerosis is a condition in which there is abnormal bone growth inside the ear. This is an inherited disorder that affects the tiny bones inside the ear that vibrate when sound waves enter. Symptoms of otosclerosis include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Vertigo or dizziness

Treatment for otosclerosis includes hearing aids to help manage hearing loss or tinnitus or surgery to help the bones of the ear vibrate more freely.

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) is an unexplained, rapid loss of hearing that occurs all at once or over the course of a few days. Sudden hearing loss typically occurs due to an issue with the sensory organ of the inner ear. Although it can occur in both ears, sudden hearing loss is more common in one ear.

There are a few causes of sudden hearing loss, however only about 10% of people diagnosed with SSHL have an identifiable cause. Some causes include:

  • Infections
  • Head or ear trauma
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Ototoxic medications
  • Blood circulation problems
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Extreme loud noise exposure

If you have suddenly lost hearing in one or both of your ears, contact us immediately. Early treatment is crucial to ensure you don’t lose more of your hearing ability or speech recognition.

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