Hearing Loss In Montgomery, NJ
Princeton Otolaryngology Associates offers audiology services to the Central New Jersey area. For anyone suffering a hearing issue in Montgomery, NJ, schedule a visit with audiologists Karen K. Herring, M.S. CCC-A and Dr. Rajool Dave, Au. D, CCC-A, who can assess your hearing issue, discover the source and prescribe the best treatment.
As the third most common health problem in the United States, hearing loss is on the rise with one in five American adults reporting some level of hearing loss and almost three percent of children finding trouble hearing. Those suffering from hearing impairments find that their quality of life is reduced as they usually have a hard time maintaining conversations. In the most severe cases, a hearing impairment could even prevent the individual from achieving a successful career.
Hearing problems can happen to any person of any age and for a variety of reasons. Understanding where hearing problems come from is important to understanding how they can be treated or prevented.
What Causes Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss can happen for a number of reasons, including age, genetics, trauma and infections. While people have been suffering from hearing loss for ages, our modern world contributes to the rising percent of Americans suffering from the condition because of certain medications and an increasingly noisy environment. Here is a deeper analysis of the most common causes for hearing loss.
The risk of hearing loss increases as we grow older. About one-third of individuals between the ages of 64 and 75 find that they have difficulty hearing, making age the biggest factor of hearing loss. Individuals over 75 have a 50 percent chance of experiencing hearing loss. Even though it is the most common cause, researchers are unsure of how age contributes to the loss of hearing outside of damaged or deteriorating soft tissue.
A Noisy Environment
We experience a variety of loud noises every day. On our commutes to work alone, we hear car engines, horns, radios and power tools, just to name a few. As time passes and we are constantly bombarded with these noises, the tissue in our ear becomes damaged. The occupations that are the most at risk for hearing loss include carpenters, ambulance drivers, musicians and air traffic controllers, but also any individual working in an environment exposed to noises of 85 decibels or higher.
One contributing factor of hearing loss has nothing to do with noise at all. In fact, some 200 medications have side effects that cause temporary hearing loss, a loss of balance or even permanent damage to the ear’s components. These medications are still used today, despite their side effects. Some of these medications include erectile dysfunction pills, antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, loop diuretics and some forms of aspirin.
Sudden Hearing Loss
Individuals can also lose their hearing suddenly, with about 4,000 patients every year reporting a loss of hearing with no apparent cause. In many instances, sudden hearing loss only happens in one ear and includes an inability to hear noises at 30 decibels or more within just a few hours.
If the skull is fractured or the eardrum is punctured, an individual is likely to experience a loss of hearing or worsened hearing. Traumatic events that may cause the individual to lose their ability to hear include trauma to the brain, skull or eardrums.
Illness and Infections
Because certain illness and infections can prohibit blood from going to the internal or external components of the ear, hearing loss can occur. These illnesses include heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and conditions that cause an excess production of ear wax.
The Most Common Symptoms of Hearing Loss
In many instances, hearing loss is a slow process. It can even be so slow that the individual does not realize their ability to hear is deteriorating and a friend or family member must bring it to their attention. Under some circumstances, an individual may be unable to hear noises of a certain pitch or find it difficult to distinguish between similar sounds. This includes being unable to detect a baby crying or the difference between “S” and “F” sounds.
Here are more common signs and symptoms associated with hearing loss:
- Tinnitus, categorized by a hissing or ringing sound.
- Continuous inability to hear what someone is saying.
- Not understanding what someone is saying.
- Believing people are always mumbling or slurring their words.
- Friends or family members complaining the TV and/or radio are too loud.
- Being unable to have a conversation on the telephone.
- Not being able participate in a conversation due to background noise.
Understanding the Levels of Hearing Loss
Not all forms of hearing loss are the same. In fact, there are four classifications of hearing loss that include mild, moderate, severe and profound. The root cause of the loss of hearing will determine how quickly the individual progresses through the stages and the level of preventative measures the individual can take.
Mild hearing loss often occurs when individuals have trouble holding a conversation with background noise or they miss an occasional word.
If an individual has moderate hearing loss, they frequently ask others to repeat themselves when speaking on the phone or if there is background noise during the conversation.
Severe hearing loss usually requires the individual to wear a hearing aid. Without one, it is nearly impossible for the individual to hold a conversation.
Those suffering from profound hearing loss are usually unable to hold a conversation unless the other individual is extremely loud. This level of hearing loss requires a hearing aid or cochlear implant for conversations to be possible.
Effective Hearing Loss Treatment Options
Hearing loss can be partially treated or the damage can be reversed depending on the level of severity and cause of hearing loss. If the hearing loss is caused by an infection or minor tissue scarring, hearing can usually be restored with antibiotics, medication or a healthy diet.
Today, there are a number of devices that make life easier for the hearing impaired, but only about 20 percent of individuals with hearing loss take advantage of this technology. With hearing aids, cochlear implants and sound-amplifying devices for TVs, radios, and phones, even those with permanent hearing loss can benefit.
If you or a loved one is experiencing any level of hearing loss, our audiologist can assist in finding traditional or alternative treatments. If you think you have a hearing issue or need professional testing for hearing loss or damage, contact Princeton Otolaryngology Associates for a hearing consultation.