Hearing Loss

Sadly, about 33% of people over 60 and 50% over 85 have some degree of hearing loss diminishing their quality of life. Not only aging adults suffer from hearing loss, younger patients may suffer from an accident that made it difficult to hear, or job-related noise exposure that slowly impairs hearing.

Hearing problems can make it hard to understand and follow a doctor’s advice, respond to warnings, or to hear doorbells and alarms. Hearing loss also makes it very difficult to enjoy talking with friends and family, forcing many with hearing loss into isolation. All of this can be frustrating, embarrassing, and even dangerous. At Carolina Ear Care, we take hearing loss very seriously, offering free hearing screenings to determine whether you have lost your ability to fully hear.

If Dr. Fox determines you need a more in-depth comprehensive hearing exam for hearing loss, he will assess your results and then personalize a treatment plan for your specific needs, which often includes hearing aids.

Types of Hearing Loss

Dr. Fox diagnoses the three types of hearing loss, including conductive, sensorineural, and mixed, which is a combination of the first two. Noise exposure, certain medications, structural or physiological issues, nerve tumors, and hereditary or genetic problems may all contribute to hearing loss.

Conductive hearing loss is due to a problem somewhere within the middle ear which consists of the ear canal, the eardrum, the middle ear cavity and the ossicles (three tiny ear bones). Hearing loss of this nature is typically the result of otitis media (ear infection), fluid (either infected or non-infected) in the middle ear, wax impaction in the ear canal or problems with the ossicles. Conductive hearing losses are often treated via medication or surgical intervention. Hearing aids are also an option for some individuals with conductive hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the cochlea or cochlear nerve. Tiny hair cells in the cochlea are typically damaged or missing, causing sound to be processed abnormally. Some individuals with this type of loss may experience, in addition to poor hearing, other symptoms such as sound distortion, poor word understanding or sensitivity to loud sounds.

Sensorineural loss is not generally helped by surgical intervention, with the exception of cochlear implant surgery. Hearing aids are usually the most useful intervention for this type of loss, as they provide more opportunity for the use of remaining hearing by giving increased sound input in the pitch ranges where it is needed.

Mixed hearing loss consists of a conductive issue, as well as, a sensorineural hearing loss. It can occur due to infections and/or diseases, injury to the head, birth defects, and many other causes. Hearing aids are commonly used to treat mixed hearing loss.

There’s no need to let hearing loss affect your relationships, disposition, or quality of life any longer. Skilled West Columbia audiologist Dr. Fox would love to help you return to normal social activities again after hearing loss has kept you from communicating with those around you. Call our office today at (803) 926-2220, or request an appointment online.

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