Almost 50 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss, and on average, they wait for seven years before they seek treatment. One reason for this is that the most common type of hearing loss comes on slowly, and it may take some time to realize how much hearing loss impacts your life.
Hearing loss affects virtually every aspect of your life, including physical, mental, and emotional health. You can lose many of life’s simple pleasures, and school and work performance may suffer. Regular visits to an audiology practice like Hearing & Balance Services of Reston means that you’ll never be surprised by the onset of hearing loss.
Types of hearing loss
You can lose hearing in the outer and middle ear, called conductive loss, or in the inner ear, known as sensorineural loss. Mixed hearing loss involves both types.
The most common form of hearing loss is related to age and exposure to noise. It’s called presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss, and it’s typically a sensorineural issue.
Sudden hearing loss could be a sign of another serious health issue, particularly when only one ear is affected. This pattern requires emergency medical care to rule out potentially dangerous health conditions.
Steps to take when you’re losing hearing
Since presbycusis is slow to develop, it’s difficult to act before you recognize that you have hearing loss. Consider these steps as an informal road map for your hearing health journey.
1. Recognize and accept hearing loss
Few people want to admit they’re losing capability, so there’s a natural resistance to accepting hearing loss. Since your brain adapts to lower levels of hearing, it’s easy to think that the problem rests with other people mumbling or a TV that’s not working as well as it once did. If you’re getting older, have a history of noise exposure including factory work or concert attendance, people close to you have suggested you’re losing hearing, or you’ve recognized yourself you don’t hear as well, it’s time to take the next step.
2. Visit an audiologist
Hearing & Balance Services of Reston is the first stop. She can examine your ears and perform cerumen removal if you have a build-up of earwax. As simple as it sounds, sometimes that’s enough to clear up a conductive loss.
3. Have a hearing test
If your ears are clear, the next step is a series of tests to determine both the conductive and sensorineural performance of your ears. From these tests, a detailed chart, called an audiogram, plots the frequency response of your hearing.
4. Hearing aid fitting
If you have a hearing loss that’s severe enough to benefit from hearing aids, these can be prescribed, purchased, and fitted at the office. Your new aids will be programmed to match your hearing loss, and adjusted for your comfort after fitting.
In most cases, contacting Hearing & Balance Services of Reston is the only step you need to take to resolve your hearing loss. Set up a consultation today.