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Understanding Your Hearing Loss Diagnosis

senior in blue shirt holding hand to ear

Hearing loss is a prevalent disease that affects people of all ages and makes it difficult to communicate verbally. Anatomically, the ear is split into three portions (external, middle, and inner), and disease in one or more of these regions can cause hearing loss. The three basic types of hearing loss can be used to simplify the differential diagnosis of hearing loss. When a sound transmission is obstructed through the external ear, the middle ear, or both, conductive hearing loss results. An issue with the cochlea or the neuronal route to the auditory cortex causes sensorineural hearing loss. Concurrent conductive and sensorineural hearing loss is known as mixed hearing loss. 

Diagnosing Hearing Loss

When looking to diagnose a hearing loss issue there are different ways in which this can be achieved. During a physical exam, your audiologist will examine your ear for probable reasons of hearing loss. There are many generic screening tests available. One is the whisper test, in which you cover one ear at a time to evaluate how well you hear words. Tuning fork tests include the use of a two-pronged metal device called a tuning fork.

Hearing loss can be detected with a straightforward tuning fork test. This examination may also identify the location of the injury in your ear. An audiometer test is also available. You will wear earbuds and hear different noises and phrases addressed to each ear during these more detailed assessments.

Hearing Loss Causes

Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors. It might be caused by something that can be treated or it could be permanent. You might be able to figure out what's causing it based on your symptoms. But don't try to diagnose yourself. The most common causes of hearing loss include:

  • Noise exposure
  • Aging
  • Damage to inner ear
  • Ear infection
  • Medications
  • Illnesses

Treating Hearing Loss

There is assistance available if you have hearing difficulty. The type of treatment you receive is determined by the origin and degree of your hearing loss. A typical hearing loss concern is removing a wax obstruction. Hearing loss is caused by earwax obstruction, which is reversible. Suction or a little instrument with a loop on the end may be used by your doctor to remove earwax.

If you have a different diagnosis and how severe it is you may be offered a hearing aid. Hearing aids are used to amplify sounds you struggle to hear in day-to-day activities. This device doesn’t restore lost hearing, but does allow the wearer to regularly participate in conversations without the fear of being left out or missing something.

With a multitude of styles and features to choose from, your audiologist will use our hearing loss needs, aesthetic preferences, budget and lifestyle to recommend the best kind of device for you.