Digital technology has made a huge improvement in hearing instrument quality.
Communication is the key to all human activities. It is necessary for learning, exchanging information, and generally taking care of each other. Advancements in hearing instrument technology have made a huge impact in the way people with hearing loss can function today.
The cause for your hearing loss may range from simple wax blockage to complex nerve damage.
What are the primary categories of hearing loss?
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
A hearing loss is sensorineural when it results from damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve, often as a result of the aging process and/or noise exposure. Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type. Sounds may be unclear and/or too soft. Sensitivity to loud sounds may occur. Medical or surgical intervention cannot correct most sensorineural hearing losses. However, hearing instruments may help you reclaim some sounds that you are missing as a result of nerve deafness.
Conductive Hearing Loss
A hearing loss is conductive when there is a problem with the ear canal, the eardrum and/or the three bones in the middle ear. Common reasons for this type of hearing loss are excess wax in the ear canal or fluid behind the eardrum. Medical treatment or surgery may be available for these and more complex forms of conductive hearing loss.
What are the effects of untreated hearing loss?
Roughly 20% of all people who need hearing instruments actually get them. Most people don’t realize that most hearing losses can be treated with hearing instruments. Most people also don’t realize that untreated hearing loss causes embarrassment, social stress, tension, and fatigue not only for the person with the hearing loss but also for family members, friends and work associates.
Successful hearing instrument users are those who are motivated to improve their communication by improving their listening and hearing. They have worked with their Audiologist to learn what they can expect from hearing instruments and understanding what they can and cannot do. They also have family support.
How can family, friends, and co-workers be affected by MY hearing loss?
Family, friends, and people at work are just as bothered by your hearing loss as you are. They may be impatient because they have to repeat what they say to you so often, and conversations with you become time consuming. They can’t communicate with you by phone the way they used to. You miss out on whispered affections. They feel at a loss to help, and they often wish for the “old relationship” they remember. This is where you can take the lead and consult an Audiologist to see what can be done to improve your hearing and to improve communication at home, at work, and in your social and leisure time activity.
Tinnitus – Many of our patients come to us with the complaint of tinnitus. Tinnitus, or Head Noises is often referred to as “ringing in the ears”. Some people experience a constant high-pitched tone, or crickets “chirping” or a rustling sound. Many times tinnitus is a byproduct of high-frequency hearing loss. Other times it can occur in the absence of hearing loss. Either way, if you are experiencing tinnitus, we recommend a hearing test to determine if your tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss.
Treatment for Tinnitus
There are treatments available for Tinnitus. We have treated many people in New Bern, Greenville, and Wilmington for this condition and will be happy to evaluate and treat you, as well.
Vertigo, or dizziness, is a symptom, not a disease. The term vertigo refers to the sensation of spinning or whirling that occurs as a result of a disturbance in balance (equilibrium). It also may be used to describe feelings of dizziness, light-headedness, faintness, and unsteadiness.
Balance testing and VNG
With VNG testing, we can determine if the problem is peripheral (ear level), central (brain), or undetermined. The result of a VNG test helps us to determine the best treatment for the patient.
Otacoustic emissions (OAE)
OAE are sounds produced by movement of outer cochlear hair cells. These sounds can be recorded easily. The main function of OAE tests is to assess the function of cochlear hair cells. These tests could be used:
- To screen children and neonates for hearing disabilities
- Estimate hearing sensitivity within a limited range of frequencies
- To differentiate sensory and neural components in sensorineural hearing loss
- To rule out malingering (functional hearing loss)
Impedance audiometry is performed to determine the functioning of the middle ear. A probe is inserted into your ear. The device changes the air pressure in your ear and emits sounds. The test measures how much your eardrum moves in response to the air pressure change and the sounds. It can help determine how well the middle ear is functioning and if there is fluid in it.
A child with undetected hearing loss may not be able to develop normal speech and language or acquire the cognitive abilities (knowing, thinking, and judging) needed for learning. Children whose hearing loss is not identified until, 2 or 3 years of age may suffer from impairment of speech, language, and learning.
Audiology of New Bern gives back to the community with Rotary Fundraiser. In 2009, Audiology of New Bern partnered with New Bern Breakfast Rotary and raised more than $8,000 to provide hearing impaired children of Craven County with special equipment.