Hearing Loss in East Windsor, NJ
Princeton Otolaryngology Associates is conveniently located near East Windsor, NJ and specializes in audiology. Audiologists Karen K. Herring, M.S. CCC-A and Dr. Rajool Dave, Au. D, CCC-A can assess your hearing and offer a number of solutions. Hearing complications can affect your life, and our audiologists can help you choose a product that fits your individual need.
It may be surprising to learn that hearing loss is listed third in the United States for common health problems, and the number of complaints about hearing complications is on the rise. Out of all of the adults in the U.S., around 20 percent have some form of hearing loss and approximately three percent of all U.S. adolescents are dealing with hearing impairments as well. If a person is experiencing hearing complications, they typically will notice a negative impact on their lifestyle. Whether it’s difficulty carrying on a normal conversation, the inability to socialize or even carrying out job duties, hearing loss can make what used to be an easy task, seem difficult and sometimes impossible.
What Causes Hearing Loss?
Many different things can be a contributing factor to a person’s loss of hearing. Whether it’s an individual’s age, genetic makeup or leftover complications from trauma or an infection, hearing impairment can be brought on from a number of issues. Throughout time, humans of all generations have had to deal with hearing impairment complications. However, there are many contributing factors that only today’s generation are facing, including modern forms of medication and louder environments. Below you’ll find some causes of hearing loss that is more common in today’s society.
An estimated 33 percent of all people between the age range of 64 and 75 encounter issues associated with hearing loss, which makes age the primary reason behind this medical ailment. After the age of 75, this percentage skyrockets to almost 50 percent of all adults. Although age is undoubtedly the most common reason behind the loss of hearing, experts are uncertain of exactly why age affects one’s hearing, apart from injured tissues or tissue that is deteriorating.
A Loud Environment
On a daily basis, the average adult is overloaded with an assortment of loud sounds, including automobile engines, the car radio and loud machinery and power tools. After awhile, the constant exposure to noisy sounds may start to damage the ears, which will ultimately lead to damaged tissue. Presently, the most at-risk occupations for loss of hearing include carpentry, EMS drivers, air traffic controllers and musicians. In essence, everyone who is employed at a job that exposes them to loud noises of 85 decibels or more can be at risk for hearing loss.
Some medications can attribute to short-term hearing loss, as well as unsteadiness in their balance and long-term damage to important components within the ear. At present, you will find nearly 200 different medications prescribed every day that show signs of causing hearing and balance complications in patients who take them. Among the many medications to trigger this loss of hearing are loop diuretics, chemotherapy medicines, erectile dysfunction drugs, some varieties of aspirin and antibiotics.
Sudden Hearing Loss
When it comes to an abrupt onset of hearing impairment, only about 4,000 patients experience this condition, without having any known cause for the ailment. This figure includes a sudden bout of hearing loss of 30 decibels or greater. In most circumstance, this loss of hearing will only occur in just one of the person’s ears.
Virtually any type of trauma to a patient’s skull, eardrums or brain can cause an onset of hearing impairment issues or further complicate a hearing loss condition. This is most commonly the case if the individual’s skull gets fractured or their eardrum gets punctured.
Illnesses and Infections
When infection or illness negatively affects a person’s bloodstream from reaching internal or external parts of their ear, loss of hearing can transpire. Hearing loss caused by illness can come on from heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and other medical conditions that may increase ear wax production.
The Most Common Symptoms of Hearing Loss
Much like vision, deterioration of hearing is usually slow going and is often unnoticeable for awhile. Hearing loss sufferers may discover that their hearing is deteriorating after a decade or even longer in some cases. Most often, it’s not until the patient’s loved ones or friends notice the issue before the patient opts to have their ears examined by a doctor. In certain circumstances, there will only be specific pitches or noises that become challenging to hear, including children talking or a woman’s voice. Words with the “S” or “F” sound may also be hard for a person with hearing problems to understand. Some other well-known indications of hearing problems include:
- Ringing (tinnitus) or hissing-like sounds
- A need to ask others to repeat the things they’re saying
- Wrong responses to questions and misunderstanding the person they’re conversing with
- Feeling as though people constantly mumble or slur their speech
- Spouse or family members say the patient is listening to the television or radio too loud
- Difficulty with telephone conversations
- Problems comprehending the other person talking when there is background noise interference
Understanding the Levels of Hearing Loss
Four primary classifications of loss of hearing exist, they are mild, moderate, severe and profound hearing impairment. Subject to the primary causes of the loss of hearing, the sufferer may gradually or rapidly proceed through all stages while they are becoming even more disconnected from the lifestyle they’re accustomed to and the world that surrounds them.
In the case of mild hearing loss, background noise can interfere with how one would follow a normal conversation. The patient tends to miss a word here and there.
Individuals with moderate hearing loss often need statements to be repeated when they’re on the phone or in person with background noise present.
At the severe hearing loss stage, most people cannot carry on a conversation or take part in many activities without the use of a hearing aid.
Conversation is virtually impossible if the other person does not speak loudly or even yell. If the sufferer doesn’t have a hearing aid or cochlear implant, they will not be able to hear what anyone around them is saying.
Effective Hearing Loss Treatment Options
The severity and cause a person’s hearing loss can determine how a treatment plan will be carried out. The treatment may also be dependent upon the level of damage and the likelihood of reversal of hearing loss. If the hearing impairment is a result of an infection or a minor tissue scar, there are simple changes that can treat the hearing loss, including antibiotics, diet change and prescribing certain medications to the patient.
Surprisingly, only about 20 percent of hearing loss sufferers who are eligible for a hearing aid takes advantage of the hearing devices. Furthermore, many of them are surprised to learn that their loss of hearing is treatable, whether partially or fully, by use of new hearing aid technology. If you’re suffering from hearing loss or you have a loved one who is beginning to show signs of hearing impairment, our audiologist can evaluate yours and their situation and come up with a plan of action, whether it be traditional treatment options or alternative drugs.
Today, there are a number of innovative hearing aid devices available that can help improve a person’s life, from cochlear implants to sound-amplifying devices that are designed for use with TVs, telephones, and radios. Even if a patient has been diagnosed with permanent hearing loss, they may benefit from the treatments and device options available.
Give us a call at Princeton Otolaryngology Associates to set up an appointment for a hearing consultation. Our professional, caring team can test your hearing and give you insight into your specific condition.