Hearing Loss in Hillsborough Township, NJ
Princeton Otolaryngology Associates is located in the Central New Jersey area. If you are experiencing problems with your hearing and you live in Hillsborough Township, NJ, please make an appointment and come see our audiologists. Karen K. Herring, M.S. CCC-A and Dr. Rajool Dave, Au.D, CCC-A are available to look closely at your personal hearing issues to figure out the cause and best treatment options.
Surprisingly, hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the United States. Many people are shocked to learn this. Furthermore, studies show that this particular health issue is becoming increasingly more common. The numbers show that 20 percent of all adults have admitted to struggles with some level of hearing loss. Out of all school children, almost three percent are currently battling with a form of hearing impairment. A decreased quality of life, the inability to develop a successful career and difficulty having conversations are some of the effects of someone dealing with a hearing impairment problem.
What Causes Hearing Loss?
Trauma, infections, age, and genetics, are a few of the wide plethora of reasons as to why a person may experience hearing loss over the years. Even though many people throughout all generations have dealt with this problem, there are new found reasons why the number of sufferers from this medical issue continues to rise. Some of the contributors include noisier environments and modern medicine. Here is a more in-depth look at a few of the most common reasons behind hearing loss.
Around 33 percent of everyone between the ages of 64 and 75 experiences hearing loss, making it the number one cause of this medical condition. Unfortunately, after the age of 75, this number skyrockets to nearly 50 percent of all patients. While age is considered to be the most common cause of hearing loss, researchers are unsure of why age impacts one’s hearing outside of damaged and deteriorating soft tissue.
A Noisy Environment
On a daily basis, the average human is swamped with a lot of different noises like car engines, power tools and the sound of the radio. Over a period of time, the continued exposure to loud noises will start to inflict harm to the ears and create damaged tissue. The most at-risk careers for hearing loss include ambulance drivers, musicians, air traffic controllers and carpenters. Those who work in a setting that exposes their ears to noises of 85 decibels or higher for a long period of time are the ones who are at the highest risk.
There are quite a few medications that have been closely linked to temporary hearing loss, permanent damage to parts of the ears, as well as a loss of balance. There are currently approximately 200 different medications that are still prescribed by medical professionals that have been proven to affect a person’s hearing or balance. Chemotherapy drugs, loop diuretics, antibiotics, erectile dysfunction pills and some forms of aspirin are a part of this list of different medications.
Sudden Hearing Loss
Every single year, around 4,000 patients receive a diagnosis of sudden hearing loss with no real cause. This also includes hearing loss of 30 decibels or more in a short period of time. In a lot of cases, the hearing loss only happens in one ear.
Trauma that happens to the skull, brain or eardrums can cause some degree of hearing loss or even worse, complete loss of hearing. This can happen if the skull is fractured or the eardrum gets punctured.
Illnesses and Infections
If anyone experiences an infection or illness affecting the blood and its path to the internal and external parts of the ear, hearing loss can happen. Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and any conditions that cause the body to produce more ear wax can be attributed to hearing loss.
The Most Common Symptoms of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is similar to the other senses, such as vision, in that deterioration can be so slow that it is hard to detect. A person may learn that their hearing has been getting worse for 10 years or longer. Oftentimes, it is a friend or family member that will point it out. There are times when it may be hard to hear certain sounds like a woman’s voice, the “S” and “F” sounds or the sound of a baby crying. There are other signs and symptoms to look out for with hearing loss. They include the following:
- A hissing or ringing sound (often caused by tinnitus).
- Always asking people to repeat themselves.
- Completely misunderstanding what a person says and responding incorrectly.
- Feeling as though people keep slurring or mumbling words.
- People always complaining the TV or radio is too loud.
- Difficulty keeping up with phone conversations.
- Background noises interfering with conversations.
Understanding the Levels of Hearing Loss
Mild, moderate, severe and profound are the four primary classifications of hearing loss. A patient might be able to progress slowly or quickly through these stages as they become more cut off from their surrounding world.
If there is any background noise, it can affect how easily a person follows a conversation and they might miss a word occasionally when dealing with mild hearing loss.
When a person is dealing with moderate hearing loss, the individual will need to ask others to continually repeat themselves when they’re on the phone or if there’s any background noise at all.
In this stage, a person usually needs a hearing aid or the typical conversation is almost impossible.
When a patient is diagnosed with profound hearing loss, they’ve reached a point where they can no longer engage in conversation without the other person talking in extremely loud tones. Conversations are impossible without the help of a cochlear implant or hearing aid.
Effective Hearing Loss Treatment Options
Depending on how bad the hearing loss is and what the cause may be, it is possible to treat the condition partially. It is also possible to reverse the damage altogether. When looking at situations with infections or minor tissue scarring, use of antibiotics, changes in diet or taking certain medications are simple changes that can improve hearing.
Approximately 20 percent of the people who are eligible for hearing aids actually use them. Meanwhile, there are many people who are surprised to learn that their condition is partially or fully treatable with the emerging technology. If you or someone you love is showing signs of hearing loss, our audiologists are available to help you with options for traditional treatment, as well as alternative drug options.
Don’t be discouraged when facing hearing loss because there are now more devices than ever before for those who want to experience a better quality of life. Some of these devices include cochlear implants and sound-amplifying devices for telephones, radios and televisions. There is hope for patients with permanent hearing loss. Those devices and treatments may be able to assist them in working with the hearing they still have on a daily basis.
If you think you might have a hearing issue or you think you might need professional testing for hearing damage or loss, call Princeton Otolaryngology Associates for a hearing consultation.