3 Things Your Audiologist Wants You To Know About Your Hearing
One of your audiologist's jobs is to educate patients about their hearing. The more people know about their hearing, the better they are able to take care of it. Here are three things your audiologist wants you to know about your hearing.
1. Your hearing changes as you age.
Your body will change as it ages, and hearing is no exception. Just as the skin becomes thinner and less elastic over time, so does the tissue in your ears.
When sound enters the ear, it vibrates the ear drum, a thin piece of tissue, and travels through the different parts of the ear like a wave until it reaches the auditory nerve. The auditory nerve then transfers the sound to the brain to be interpreted. However, that thin tissue at your ear drum becomes thinner and less taut over time, leading to a loss of hearing ability, particularly in higher frequencies. Your audiologist can use hearing aids to help you regain that hearing ability, however.
2. Noise-induced hearing loss is preventable.
One of the most common causes of hearing loss is exposure to loud noise over time. This hearing loss is completely preventable with earplugs or other protective devices when exposed to loud noise. Noise louder than 70 decibels (dB) can cause damage to the inner ear, so it's important to take precautions when in a loud environment. To put it in perspective, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) explains that "a whisper is about 30 dB, normal conversation is about 60 dB, and a motorcycle engine running is about 95 dB." They further state that noises at 120 dB will cause "immediate damage."
3. There are many different types of hearing loss.
Most people are surprised to learn that there are actually many different types of hearing loss, including:
- Sensorineural. Sensorineural hearing loss affects the inner ear, including the auditory nerve, and is typically caused by ongoing damage due to aging, exposure to loud noise, or certain medications.
- Conductive. Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the ear canal, eardrum, or ossicles (tiny bones in the middle ear). It is caused by a blockage in the ear canal that prevents sound from being transmitted. This can be due to a buildup of earwax, fluid in the middle ear, or a punctured eardrum.
- Mixed. Some people may experience a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
Regardless of the type of hearing loss you may be experiencing, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. With the right care and support from your audiologist and hearing aids, you can enjoy life's wonderful sounds.
Hearing loss is a common problem that can have a big impact on your life. However, there are many things you can do to prevent or treat hearing loss. If you have any questions about your hearing, be sure to consult with an audiologist who can help you determine the best course of action for your individual situation.
For more information about audiologists and hearing aids, contact a local clinic.