Hearing loss as you get older is common, but the problem isn’t limited to adults. Hearing problems affect people of all ages, and if the problem goes undetected, hearing loss affects their success at school and work as well as their social lives. At Lonestar ENT, Allergy and Aesthetics in Palestine, Texas, Eric Hensen, DO, has years of experience helping his patients with comprehensive hearing testing and customized treatment for each person’s hearing problem. To schedule a hearing exam, call the office or schedule an appointment online.
There are two primary types of hearing loss, each with different causes:
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound waves don’t reach your inner ear. This type of hearing loss develops from problems such as fluid in your middle ear, ear infections, eardrum damage, and excessive earwax.
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when your auditory nerve or inner ear is damaged. This type is caused by aging, injuries, and exposure to loud sounds or music.
You can have both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, a condition called mixed hearing loss.
Age-related hearing loss, called presbycusis, develops over the years as the nerve cells in your inner ear become damaged. These cells are essential for hearing because they turn sound waves into electrical impulses that travel to your brain.
Presbycusis is typically caused by nerve degeneration that slowly occurs over years of exposure to loud sounds that damage the nerves.
The inability to hear sounds seems like an obvious symptom, but hearing loss typically occurs so gradually that you may not notice the early changes.
One of the first signs is having a hard time hearing high-pitched sounds. For example, you may hear men clearly but discover you have a hard time hearing women.
Other signs of hearing loss include:
Many patients with hearing loss have a hard time following a conversation when several people are talking.
During your visit, Dr. Hensen conducts a comprehensive hearing evaluation and examines your ear. Then he recommends treatment based on the cause of your hearing loss.
He can often cure conductive hearing loss by cleaning out earwax, taking medications, and performing surgical procedures.
Sensorineural hearing loss, however, is permanent. Dr. Hensen may recommend an assistive listening device, hearing aid, or cochlear implant. He provides Starkey® hearing aids, which include the latest technology and are custom-fitted.
Starkey offers several styles of hearing aids:
The style that’s best for you depends on your degree of hearing loss, ear anatomy, budget, the appearance you prefer, and if you want special features like wireless connectivity. Dr. Hensen answers all your questions and helps guide your decision.
If you notice signs of hearing loss, call Lonestar ENT, Allergy and Aesthetics or schedule an appointment online.