Do You Want the Truth About Your Hearing?
Health Reports in Canada says that an estimated 54% of Canadians aged 40 to 79 (8.2 million) have at least a mild hearing loss in the high-frequency range based on audiometric testing. This extends to approximately 93% of adults in the 70-to-79-year age group experiencing some level of an unperceived hearing loss.
Hearing loss comes on slowly, which means that family, friends and co-workers are likely to recognize it before you do.
Their caring advice, though it might be frustrating to hear, is meant to help guide you toward making a decision that will not only result in better hearing health but also improve your quality of life.
The hard reality is that the only way to know the truth about whether or not you have a hearing loss is through regular non-invasive hearing assessments.
However, many people put off hearing tests in spite of the fact that leaving your hearing challenges untreated does extensive damage and leads to a more advanced level of hearing loss.
Hear at Home’s hearing specialists travel to wherever you are in order to provide you with a highly accurate comprehensive hearing assessment by using state-of-the-art equipment that tells the truth about your hearing.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hearing Loss
Q. What are the most common signs of hearing loss?
A. Some of the most common signs related to hearing loss include:
- Constantly asking people to repeat themselves
- Difficulty while having a conversation in a noisy environment
- Frequently misheard words
- More and more people in your life are mumbling
- People are telling you to turn the TV down
- Struggling to understand the person on the other end of the phone
- A constant ringing or buzzing in your ears
- Friends and family members telling you to “get your ears checked”
Q. What causes hearing loss?
A. The most common cause of hearing loss is called presbycusis, which involves the deterioration of the structural components in your ears over time due to aging or genetics, similar to many people’s experiences with their eyesight.
Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) results from frequent exposure to sounds over 85 decibels (the noise level of the average lawnmower or chainsaw, for example) for more than 15 minutes at a time, or from a sudden extreme noise impact event.
Ototoxic medications can lead to permanent or temporary hearing loss, while other causes of temporary hearing loss can also be caused by earwax or some other object blocking the ear canal, inflammation, and growths or tumors.
Q. Are there different kinds of hearing loss?
A. There are three different kinds of hearing loss.
- Conductive Hearing Loss involves some sort of obstruction inside the ear canal that blocks sound from being “conducted” to the middle ear. It can usually be corrected by medical intervention.
- Sensorineural Hearing Loss is the result of damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or within the hearing nerve, which is most often related to aging or noise exposure but can be the result of damage caused by medications, cancer treatments, or illnesses. This type of hearing loss is permanent and is usually treated with a hearing instrument.
- Mixed Hearing Loss is a mixture of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
Q. Are there different levels of hearing loss?
A.Your audiogram plots out how well you are able to hear sounds at various pitches or frequencies, allowing your hearing specialist to classify your hearing loss in any of five categories, including:
Mild: Trouble hearing conversations in a noisy room or when someone is speaking quietly. In quiet environments, mild hearing loss is manageable.
Moderate: It is harder to hear conversation in group settings. People with a moderate loss tend to have the TV turned up too loud.
Moderately Severe: Hearing and understanding speech is significantly reduced at this level, especially in group environments or when talking on the telephone.
Severe: Normal conversation becomes inaudible, and shouting can still be challenging to comprehend.
Profound: At this level, only the loudest sounds are audible, and shouting may not be heard at all.
Q. Could I have hearing loss in just one ear?
A. Although not very common, it is possible. However, the vast majority of people with hearing loss have a loss in both ears (bilateral loss), but one ear might have greater damage, or a person learns to favor one ear as their hearing deteriorates. True unilateral hearing loss may be caused by:
- Congenital or genetics
- Illness or infection
- Head or ear trauma
Single-sided deafness (SSD) is when hearing loss in one ear is so severe that a conventional hearing aid will not help, but there are specific hearing aids that may help route sounds from the poor ear over to the good ear using Bluetooth technology.
Q. Can I prevent my hearing loss from getting worse?
A. Hearing loss cannot always be prevented, but there are important things you can do to ensure you limit its effect on your life, such as:
- Using hearing aids to address your hearing loss. Hearing aids stimulate the hearing nerve, making the most out of the hearing ability you have left and keeping your brain’s ability to recognize speech in top shape.
- Limit your exposure to noise. Whether you’re exposed to noise at work, while you’re doing chores around the house (mowing the lawn, sawing wood, etc.), enjoying recreational activities (snowmobiling, target shooting, hunting, etc.) or attending a concert, nightclub or major sporting event, ear protection is essential for limiting damage. Regular earplugs provide some protection, but most hearing care providers can fit you with custom earplugs for maximum comfort and protection.
- Annual hearing tests, especially if you’re over the age of 50, allow you to monitor your hearing health and take action as soon as any changes occur.
Q. Are hearing aids the only treatment option for hearing loss?
A. If your hearing loss is caused by a blockage, such as a wax buildup, a foreign object, inflammation, a growth or tumor (conductive hearing loss), your hearing healthcare professional can drastically improve your hearing ability with some form of intervention, like removing the object, medication to reduce inflammation or a minor surgical procedure.
However, if your hearing loss is the result of damage to the sensory organ and/or nerve in the inner ear (sensorineural hearing loss), the damage is usually permanent. Fortunately, 95% of sensorineural hearing loss cases can be effectively helped through the use of hearing aids, which not only improve your hearing but can also help improve your balance and/or limit cognitive decline.
What to Expect During a Hearing Assessment
There are people who put off having their hearing tested because they aren’t sure what to expect during a hearing test. To help put your mind at ease, here is a quick walk through of the process we use at Hear at Home.
Our painless, non-invasive process can be broken down into four basic steps to provide you with the most accurate results possible, including:
A Friendly Conversation
Through a friendly conversation about your lifestyle, occupation, family and health history, hobbies and other activities, we not only enjoy the opportunity to get to know you better, but it also helps provide a lot of the critical information we need to provide individualized hearing care that meets your objectives and fits your lifestyle.
A Physical Examination of Your Ears
After your conversation with your hearing specialist, he or she will conduct a physical examination of your ears, ear canal and tympanic membrane by using a video otoscope (the tapered, cone-shaped magnifying glass with a light on the end, which is now connected to a video monitor). This allows us to evaluate the health of your ear canal and eardrum. We’ll usually follow this up with tympanometer and bone conduction tests to measure the reaction of your hearing structures when stimulated by sounds.
What most people think of as a hearing test involves seating you in a soundproof booth and fitting you with a set of high-quality headphones, but we’re now able to conduct this type of testing in a quiet room within your home. During these tests, your hearing specialist will use an audiometer to transmit a range of sounds or spoken words at various frequencies and volume levels into the headphones. You will be asked to respond to each sound you hear. Your result will be plotted on an audiogram to determine the level of hearing loss you may or may not be experiencing.
Discuss the Results
One of the great things about a hearing test is that you get the results as soon as the test is finished rather than having to “wait on the lab,” like you do with other medical tests. This allows your hearing care expert to have a candid conversation about the results of your tests and clarify what each part means during the same visit to your home.
Your input regarding any treatment and preventative solutions we discuss is a critical part of establishing a transparent hearing care partnership designed to combine our expertise with your needs, objectives, lifestyle and personal preferences.
Schedule a Comprehensive Hearing Assessment
If others complain about the volume of your television, you no longer enjoy conversation during a night out or family gathering because of the noise, telephone conversations are becoming quite a challenge and/or friends and family are telling you to “get your ears checked,” the starting point for restoring hearing loss or preventing it is a comprehensive hearing assessment.
Our Hear at Home hearing care professionals can instil the trust you need about your hearing with a hearing test in the comfort and safety of your home. Just submit the adjacent form and a member of our team will call you to assist in scheduling your appointment.
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