What is hearing loss?

Hearing loss can be a sudden or gradual decrease in quality of hearing. Depending on the cause, it can be mild to severe, temporary or permanent. It is the third most common long-term health problem in older Americans, affecting around 40 percent of those over 65 and 80 percent over 85.

Some are unaware of gradual hearing loss, especially if it is not significant. Your family members or friends may be the first to notice. If you repeatedly ask for people to repeat themselves and have difficulty following conversations, it’s possible your hearing has been affected.

What causes hearing loss?

In adults, the most common causes of hearing loss are:

  • Noise: Hearing loss caused by loud noises can cause sudden damage, or damage over time. Listening to loud music can harm hearing over time. Something louder, like a clap of lightning, may immediately lead to hearing loss.
  • Illness: There are multiple viruses and other illnesses that can affect the inner ear and cause damage.
  • Age: Over time, we all lose strength in various parts of our bodies. The ears experience this in a slow and steady manner. The loss is generally permanent without aid from a hearing instrument.
  • Blow to the head: Experiencing a violent impact to the head can cause hearing damage. The hearing may return, or you may require permanent assistance to regain hearing.
What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms of hearing loss include:

  • Muffled hearing and a feeling that your ear is plugged
  • Trouble understanding what people are saying, especially when other people are talking or when there is background noise, such as a television or radio
  • Listening to the TV or radio at a higher volume than in the past
  • Avoiding talking with or being around other people
  • Depression: Many adults may become depressed because of how hearing loss affects their social lives
  • A ringing, roaring, hissing, or buzzing in the ear, called tinnitus
  • Ear pain, itching, irritation, or fluid leaking from the ear.
  • A feeling that you or your surroundings are spinning (vertigo)
How is hearing loss diagnosed?

Hearing loss is diagnosed using diagnostic audiometers to evaluate both the intensity and frequency of sounds while the patient is seated in a special, soundproof room. The audiologist may be visible through the window.

The person being tested sits in the booth wearing either headphones, hearing instruments/implants, or nothing over their ears at all. The audiologist asks them to signal when they can hear a sound. This signaling is usually done by raising the hand or pressing a button on a hand-held signaler.

The audiologist plays recorded frequencies or sound tones at different volumes or levels, testing each ear separately or both ears at the same time. The sounds are made louder or softer until a response occurs. If there is no response, it means the sound is not heard. Words are also spoken to test the patient’s ability to pick up various sounds in context.

The audiologist will often check the ear drums on a test called a tympanogram, as well, and do a bone conduction test.

Can you prevent hearing loss?

You can prevent noise-related hearing loss by:

  • Avoiding loud noise, such as noise from machines at your work, firearms, fireworks, power tools, loud music, and motorcycles
  • Wearing hearing protection, such as earplugs or earmuffs when around noisy environments.
Is hearing loss hereditary?

Some forms of hearing loss can be inherited. Hearing impairment that is inherited does not always occur at a young age, though. Some forms can show up later in life. Around 60 percent of hearing loss is estimated to be from genetic factors. If hearing loss runs in your family, this could be cause enough to having your hearing checked as you age. At least 400 syndromes have been discovered that contribute to hearing loss, with the more prevalent ones being Usher syndrome and Waardenburg syndrome.

Did you go through a name change?

Yes! We used to be called 1st Choice Hearing Care but have made the switch to Audiology of New Bern, Greenville, and Wilmington. We believe this name more succinctly describes what we do and where we practice.

What is hearing loss?

Hearing loss can be a sudden or gradual decrease in quality of hearing. Depending on the cause, it can be mild to severe, temporary or permanent. It is the third most common long-term health problem in older Americans, affecting around 40 percent of those over 65 and 80 percent over 85.

Some are unaware of gradual hearing loss, especially if it is not significant. Your family members or friends may be the first to notice. If you repeatedly ask for people to repeat themselves and have difficulty following conversations, it’s possible your hearing has been affected.

What causes hearing loss?

In adults, the most common causes of hearing loss are:

  • Noise: Hearing loss caused by loud noises can cause sudden damage, or damage over time. Listening to loud music can harm hearing over time. Something louder, like a clap of lightning, may immediately lead to hearing loss.
  • Illness: There are multiple viruses and other illnesses that can affect the inner ear and cause damage.
  • Age: Over time, we all lose strength in various parts of our bodies. The ears experience this in a slow and steady manner. The loss is generally permanent without aid from a hearing instrument.
  • Blow to the head: Experiencing a violent impact to the head can cause hearing damage. The hearing may return, or you may require permanent assistance to regain hearing.
What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms of hearing loss include:

  • Muffled hearing and a feeling that your ear is plugged
  • Trouble understanding what people are saying, especially when other people are talking or when there is background noise, such as a television or radio
  • Listening to the TV or radio at a higher volume than in the past
  • Avoiding talking with or being around other people
  • Depression: Many adults may become depressed because of how hearing loss affects their social lives
  • A ringing, roaring, hissing, or buzzing in the ear, called tinnitus
  • Ear pain, itching, irritation, or fluid leaking from the ear.
  • A feeling that you or your surroundings are spinning (vertigo)
How is hearing loss diagnosed?

Hearing loss is diagnosed using diagnostic audiometers to evaluate both the intensity and frequency of sounds while the patient is seated in a special, soundproof room. The audiologist may be visible through the window.

The person being tested sits in the booth wearing either headphones, hearing instruments/implants, or nothing over their ears at all. The audiologist asks them to signal when they can hear a sound. This signaling is usually done by raising the hand or pressing a button on a hand-held signaler.

The audiologist plays recorded frequencies or sound tones at different volumes or levels, testing each ear separately or both ears at the same time. The sounds are made louder or softer until a response occurs. If there is no response, it means the sound is not heard. Words are also spoken to test the patient’s ability to pick up various sounds in context.

The audiologist will often check the ear drums on a test called a tympanogram, as well, and do a bone conduction test.

Can you prevent hearing loss?

You can prevent noise-related hearing loss by:

  • Avoiding loud noise, such as noise from machines at your work, firearms, fireworks, power tools, loud music, and motorcycles
  • Wearing hearing protection, such as earplugs or earmuffs when around noisy environments.
Is hearing loss hereditary?

Some forms of hearing loss can be inherited. Hearing impairment that is inherited does not always occur at a young age, though. Some forms can show up later in life. Around 60 percent of hearing loss is estimated to be from genetic factors. If hearing loss runs in your family, this could be cause enough to having your hearing checked as you age. At least 400 syndromes have been discovered that contribute to hearing loss, with the more prevalent ones being Usher syndrome and Waardenburg syndrome.

Did you go through a name change?

Yes! We used to be called 1st Choice Hearing Care but have made the switch to Audiology of New Bern, Greenville, and Wilmington. We believe this name more succinctly describes what we do and where we practice.

Hearing Evaluation and Testing at Audiology

Audiology of Greenville, New Bern, and Wilmington is a warm and caring environment to have one’s hearing evaluated. We use the newest and most accurate methods to determine if you have hearing loss, then, if so, we work with you to find a solution that you’re comfortable with.