If you have just been diagnosed with hearing loss, you are part of a not-so-exclusive club; some 48 million people in North Carolina and throughout the country experience impaired hearing to a certain degree. You are doubtless experiencing many emotions right now and wondering how your life will change with this new diagnosis. The good news is, you can still lead a perfectly normal life with hearing loss – it just takes some time to adjust. With a few adaptations, you’ll enjoy the same quality lifestyle you did before.
Meet with your audiologist.
The mere fact that you sought treatment for your hearing loss is a positive step in the right direction. It takes the average North Carolina resident seven years to seek help for a hearing impairment; that’s a lot of time spent asking others “what?” over and over again or watching TV with the volume so high others around you are tempted to leave the room. Now that you know there is a problem, you can treat it.
Your first step is to meet with your audiologist at Blue Ridge Hearing Center to discuss your hearing test results. Treatment will depend on the type and severity of your impairment, as well as its underlying cause.
Hearing loss severity is measured in degrees ranging from normal to profound and is based upon your hearing loss range in decibels; equally important is the frequency of your hearing loss. Some people are unable to hear low frequency sounds, while others have trouble with higher frequencies. These results will help your audiologist determine what type of hearing loss you are experiencing.
Determine your hearing loss type.
There are three basic types of hearing loss. Those suffering from conductive hearing loss have problems with the outer or middle ear. This can be the result of fluid buildup, an ear infection, impacted earwax, allergies, foreign objects in the ear, malformations of the outer or middle ear, and other innocuous causes. Conductive hearing loss can often be treated successfully with drugs or surgery.
Sensorineural hearing loss involves a problem with the inner ear. Also known as nerve deafness, this type of hearing loss is the result of damaged hair cells in the cochlea and may be caused by aging, noise exposure, viruses, trauma, hereditary factors, side effects of certain medications, malformations of the inner ear, or benign tumors. Sensorineural hearing loss is irreversible; the go-to treatment is hearing aids.
Some people experience mixed hearing loss, which – as the name implies – is a combination of damage to the outer, middle, and inner ear.
Find a treatment solution.
Nine out of ten hearing loss patients experience sensorineural or mixed hearing loss and will benefit from the use of hearing aids. If so, you’ll want to choose a pair that not only addresses your specific hearing needs but is also appropriate for your lifestyle (how active/social you are), is cosmetically appealing, and fits within your budget.
The good news? There is a wide range of choices available. The bad news? There is a wide range of choices available. Choosing a hearing aid can be a daunting task, but your Boone, Jefferson, or Linville audiologist is happy to help you through the process.