Children have their hearing tested early in life. Even a slight hearing problem can cause developmental delays in their speech and ability to learn. A hearing issue will also cause a delay in their social development with other children. But after early childhood testing determines whether hearing falls within the normal range or not, not much more is thought about hearing until one becomes much older. Here is what you can expect from an adult hearing evaluation.
What Is Hearing Loss Caused By?
In adults, hearing loss may result from a few different things. An ear infection may be more common in children, but adults still get them. Many times, they won't suffer any ear pain but rather have symptoms such as the feeling the ear is clogged and dizziness upon standing or moving the head from side to side. Ear infections may be cause by bacteria and viruses both, with each one manifesting in different symptoms. Unless the ear infection was bacterial and went untreated for a long time, the hearing loss is just temporary.
Another common cause of temporary hearing loss is cerumen impaction. This is when the ear canal becomes filled with excessive ear wax. While the health and beauty industry will gladly sell you cotton swabs, most otolaryngologist and otologists don't recommend inserting anything into the ear. The ears are actually self-cleaning and will work out excess wax on their own. Trying to clean them usually pushes the ear wax further back in. This can lead to temporary hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss is the type of hearing loss that is most often associated with normal aging or illness, such as a head trauma from a fall or even a stroke that interrupts the nerve signals between the cochlea and the brain. With this kind of hearing loss, the lower toned sounds of human speech are muffled, making communication and enjoying the television or radio difficult.
What Options Are There For Treating Hearing Loss?
With ear infections or excessive ear wax, once the underlying condition is addressed, the problems goes away, but with sensorineural hearing loss, treatment will be required. A hearing test, called pure-tone air conduction, will be done to give the physician a better idea of how severe the hearing loss is. This is a painless test where you listen to headphones and signal whenever you hear a tone. There are several styles of hearing aids. Some are even equipped with technology similar to your smartphone, enabling you to wirelessly integrate your hearing aid with your other devices. In some instances, hearing can be repaired surgically. Once the cause of the loss is determined, the audiologist can decide what is best for your specific situation.