Hearing Loss

One in ever 5 people in the U.S. over the age of 12 has hearing loss, so you are far from alone. Like other health-related matters, it is important not to ignore it, and to seek help from a professional. There is plenty of help available once you take the first step. 
According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, around 48 million Americans have difficulty hearing.

Advanced HEaring & Balance Center
Serving the DFW Area for over 25 years!

How We Hear

The Hearing Process

The Hearing Process

Turning sound vibrations into information your brain can process.

The ear is a complicated environment with three main parts: the outer ear including the auditory canal, the middle ear and the inner ear.

Each part plays its own role in turning sound waves into nerve stimuli. Whether you are awake or asleep, your ears are constantly active, working in tandem with your brain to keep you informed of the world around you.

The BrainOnce impulses are sent to the brain, it processes the data so that we can decide what is relevant in this particular situation and act upon it.

The auditory cortex, located in the temporal lobe, sorts out and interprets the sounds your ears detect.

When you have hearing loss, the sound signals that your brain normally should receive from your ears are compromised and can impact you in more ways than just not hearing well.

The outer ear funnels sound into the canal

The outer ear (pinna) catches sound waves in the air, amplifies them slightly, then funnels them down into the ear canal towards the eardrum.

The middle ear’s vibrating bones make magic

As sound waves are transferred from the eardrum into the middle ear, three small bones, the ossicles, amplify noise. The ossicles consist of the malleus (the “hammer”), the incus (the “anvil”) and the stapes (the “stirrups”). These small bones work in tandem to transfer sound into the inner ear.

The inner ear turns vibrations into information for the brain

Sound waves cause fluid in the snail-shaped cochlea to move, and this movement is picked up by the sensory cells, which send electrical impulses by the sensory cells, which send electrical impulses to your brain. Deep in the inner ear, the fluid-filled cochlea houses thousands of nerve-hearing “hair” cells. It is here that vibrations get transformed into neurological signals that present sound information to the auditory nerve. Sound waves move the ahir cells, which pass messages to the brains auditory cortex.

Your Ears & Brain Collaborate to Help You Hear
Your brain filters out a flood of irrelevant sounds so you can concentrate on the information you want and need. So, whether you are at work, a restaurant, on a busy conference call, or have the television on in the background as you talk on the phone, your brain is working to prioritize incoming sounds.

A healthy hearing system recognizes low-frequency sounds like a double bass, high-frequency sounds like birds singing and everything in between. Your brain needs to process all volumes of sound, from very quiet, like a mosquito, to extremely loud noises, like a jet airplane. The brain uses sound to orient you when you enter a new space and in alerting you to danger.

Signs & Symptoms of Hearing Loss

What is hearing loss?
When your brain doesn’t receive sound signals, it results in hearing loss. Hearing loss ranges from slight hearing loss at a range of 15-25 dB to profound hearing loss, which ranges above 91 dB.

There are several types of hearing loss, including sensorineural hearing loss, conductive, mixed, and congenital. No matter which type you may have, we will help you identify options.

AHBC offers a wide range of hearing aids for mild, moderate or severe hearing loss, and our hearing care professionals have in-depth product knowledge to assist you in identify what’s best for your needs.

If you recognize any of these hearing loss symptoms, we highly recommend that you see a hearing wellness professional. The team at AHBC is ready to partner with you on your journey to better hearing.

Causes of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can occur at any age. Although advancing age or noise exposure are the most common causes of hearing loss, an infection, head/neck injury, or genetic issue can also be among the cause of hearing loss.

Understanding the source of your issues gives our professionals insight into your needs, so we can advise you of the best options for your specific treatment. That is why we encourage you to speak with our professionals as soon as you notice troubles with your hearing.

Hearing Loss Cause #1: Aging

As our age increases, our ear organs can develop changes in the inner ear over time. The daily wear and tear on our hearing system gradually reduces their effectiveness. When your hearing starts to weaken, it becomes more difficult to hear soft voices and high-frequency sounds, such as the voices of women and children. Age-related hearing loss can also make it extremely difficult to follow and understand conversations in the presence of background noise, even if parts of the conversation can be heard.

Hearing Loss Cause #2: Noise Exposure

It is not surprise that repeated exposure to high levels of noise can cause hearing loss. Whether it is repeated contact with high volume over time or short-term incidents with extreme levels of sound, both harm the sensitive hair cells on the ear organ, which become damaged and die. As the hair cells become damage, you lose the ability to hear.

FACT:  90% of hearing loss occurs when either these hair cells or the auditory nerve cells are destroyed, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Hearing Loss Cause #3: Medical Conditions

Did you know that certain serious illnesses can lead to hearing loss? Below is a list of diseases and other medical conditions that can cause hearing loss:

  • Illness and Infections: Viral Colds
  • Maternal Infections: Rubella/Measles, Herpes Simplex Virus, Cytomegalovirus
    Ear Infections: Otitis Media or Infections in Ear Canal
    Perforated Eardrum: Ear infections or Trauma
  • Ear Infections: Otitis Media or Infections in Ear Canal
    Perforated Eardrum: Ear infections or Trauma
  • Perforated Eardrum: Ear infections or Trauma

Hearing Loss Cause #4: Medications

Ototoxicity is when medications are poisoning the ear (oto = ear, toxicity = poisoning), specifically the cochlea or auditory nerve and sometimes the vestibular system. This will be listed as a side effect of the drug. The effects can be reversable and temporary, or irreversible and permanent.

The most common ototoxic medications are listed below:

  • Chemotherapy Agents: Cysplatin, Carboplatin, Gentamicin
  • Antibiotics: Kanamycin, Amikacin, Tobramycin, Strepomycin, Neomycin

Hearing Loss Causes Challenges

Because age-related hearing loss is gradual, you may not notice it by yourself. Most often, family members, friends or co-workers will notice the issue before an individual recognizes any deficit. Age-related hearing loss does not just impact the person who is struggling to hear, it also impacts friends, family and even colleagues. Relationships can become strained as others are frustrated with someone can’t hear well.

Fortunately, we can help. We can educate you about your specific condition and offer suggestions to help ease communication by making simple changes.

Exhibiting signs of hearing loss?

The human ears are advanced and perceptive sensory organs. Just as other parts of our bodies show the effects of wear and tear as we age, so do our hearing systems. We see this in various symptoms of hearing loss.

Fortunately, AHBC can identify options for many people who demonstrate signs of hearing loss. The signs of hearing loss can be vague and develop slowly, or they can be obvious and begin suddenly. Regardless, struggling to hear certain sounds or syllables is a telltale symptom of hearing loss.

Maybe you can hear people talking, but you can’t make out what they are saying, or you frequently ask people to repeat themselves. Another sign of hearing loss is difficulty hearing in noisy situations like conferences, restaurants, or crowded meeting rooms. This can result in frustration, withdrawal from social activities, depression, isolation, and loneliness.

If you recognize any of these hearing loss symptoms, we highly recommend that you see a hearing wellness professional. The team at AHBC is ready to partner with you on your journey to better hearing.

You are not alone.
According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, around 48 million Americans have difficulty hearing.

It may be difficult to accept hearing loss, but leaving it untreated can affect your quality of life. Socializing becomes exhausting when you are not able to fully understand and communicate with others.

Because conversations take so much more mental energy, hearing loss can also lead to irritability, negativism, anger, stress, and depression.

There are also potential financial ramifications: hearing loss can reduce your performance at your work or educational institution. Hearing loss and depression have been linked.

Moreover, because it reduces your awareness, it increases risks to your personal safety. That’s why it’s important to take heed if you are experiencing hearing loss symptoms.  

Our highly-rated team of Audiologists are here to help

My Parents Have Untreated Hearing Loss, How Can I Help?

Family members are often the first to notice symptoms of hearing loss. It may be a long time before an individual admits there is a problem.

If you have concerns about someone close to you, we recommend you seek help. With proper hearing care, symptoms of hearing loss can be eased, so the individual is less tired, and has more energy to engage in their environment.

Want to join mom or dad at an appointment? That’s great! We encourage individuals to bring a family member or friend along, especially to the first appointment.

Our highly-rated team of Audiologists are here to help

When Should I Have a Hearing Test?

Beginning at what age and how often?

If you recognize any signs of hearing loss in yourself or a loved one, it is important to seek help. Get started by scheduling a hearing assessment at a AHBC location near you. If you haven’t had a hearing assessment before, our professionals will walk you through the process and explain what to expect at your first appointment.

Recommended Baseline TestA baseline-hearing exam is recommended for everyone, no matter symptoms, age or medical history. Accidents, injuries and unexpected medical conditions can occur at any time in life and having an audiogram on file helps medical professionals to determine any damage that may be a result of the accidental injury or medical condition.

Recommended Annual Ear Exam
It is recommended for patients who have previously been diagnosed with hearing loss, to have their hearing tested every 12-months by an audiologist to identify, monitor and track progression of hearing.

At Advanced Hearing & Balance Center, we have set up a relaxed and safe environment to ensure your evaluation is thorough and pain-free. We will determine if you have a hearing loss, the degree and type of hearing loss, and provide an accurate diagnosis. Once all testing is complete, we will explain the results, make recommendations, and determine the best treatment solution together.

Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss

Beginning at what age and how often?

We all share the same process of hearing – our brain and ears.

However, each one of us hears in our own way. The unique way we absorb the sounds around us is truly remarkable. That’s why, when we are not hearing at our best, it can profoundly effect us.

The good news is, when you take action against your hearing loss, you can put a stop to these adverse effects and realize many other benefits. It can lower your risk of depression and anxiety, help you fulfill your career goals, and cherish life’s most precious moments.

There are many important reasons to regain control of your hearing.

Hearing Conservation:  Protect Your Ears

Hearing Protection in Plano & Grapevine

Take good care of your hearing by protecting your ears in these situations – or avoiding them completely.

Background Noise – Too loud to hear the person next to you? Step outside for a quick break and rest your ears. 

Industrial Noise – Wear protection when you are at a repair shop, factory or similar environment.

Live Music – Exposure to loud music, especially over time, contributes to hearing loss.

How do I know if I’m getting hearing loss from noise? 

Noise-induced hearing loss usually happens slowly. There is no pain. The brain helps compensate for the gradual increase in hearing loss, making people think their hearing is still normal.

Meanwhile, the brain is working in overdrive to piece together all of the misfired signals received from the ears, causing the patient to become fatigue and at higher risk of memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Right after hearing a blast of loud noise, you may notice a “ringing” sound in your ears. This is common after attending a loud music concert or shooting a gun without wearing hearing protection. You might have trouble hearing people talk immediately following the loud noise exposure. After several hours or even a few days, these symptoms usually go away.

However, when you are exposed to this kind of noise again, you could get a hearing loss that lasts forever.

Protecting Yourself from Hearing Loss

Industrial Hearing Screenings

Recreational and occupational noises at excessive levels can cause permanent hearing loss. Wear custom hearing protection when you will be exposed to loud noises to prevent hearing loss. Learn about our custom hearing protection services here.

It’s a great when an employer provides their work force with a baseline-hearing test. This can be so important, not only for identifying anyone who might already be suffering from a hearing loss and side-effects of untreated hearing loss, but to also have this in your medical file in case you ever experience any type of injury, illness or accident that might effect your hearing.

This gives doctors the ability to gauge how much of an impact the injury, illness or accident has had on your hearing and can also provide the patient with financial help from their insurance company to obtain the appropriate treatment.

If you were told you either failed the hearing test or were diagnosed with a hearing loss, bring your audiogram (hearing test results) and report to us and we can develop a customized treatment plan to meet your specific lifestyle demands and hearing needs.

Due to the growing causes of hearing loss and exposure to loud sounds, we recommend ALL people get a baseline test and anyone who has a hearing loss should receive a hearing test once per year to monitor any changes in hearing.

We can help you identify signs of hearing loss

If you recognize any signs of hearing loss in yourself or a loved one, it is important to seek help. Get started by scheduling a hearing assessment at a AHBC location near you. Contact us today.

Are you ready to take charge of your hearing & communication challenges? 

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