Hearing Loss

Is hearing loss affecting your quality of life?

Hearing Aids Athens GA

Hearing loss is a sneaky thing.

Because it typically occurs over time, people may not realize anything has changed. Instead, they feel as though everyone around them mumbles, and they struggle to follow conversations.

Family members and friends are often the first to notice that loved ones:

  • Have difficulty communicating over the phone
  • Turn the TV or radio volume way up
  • Dislike noisy restaurants or parties
  • Don’t hear people speaking behind them
  • Often ask others to repeat themselves
  • Study a speaker’s lips to help with comprehension

Hearing loss often leads to frustration and depression, causing people to feel isolated in situations they once enjoyed. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you, or someone you love, suffers from hearing loss, we can help. We will perform a comprehensive history of your hearing loss and a thorough head and neck exam with special attention on the ear and related structures. A hearing test is usually needed to obtain detailed assessment of your specific type of hearing loss.

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Treatment for hearing loss

“I can hear birds singing again!”

Hearing a comment like that never gets old. Nothing gives us greater satisfaction than to help patients gain a stronger connection to the world around them.

Luckily, with a variety of treatment options available, we can find the ideal approach to help you hear again. We offer professional hearing aids and other surgical and non-surgical treatments.

Don't suffer in silence. If you or someone you love is suffering from hearing loss, please contact us now to make an appointment.

What causes hearing loss?

Hearing loss can result from a variety of specific causes, but they all fall into one of two categories:

  1. Sensory or Nerve-type Hearing Loss: This is when the inner ear loses its ability to sense sound or speech.
  2. Conductive Hearing Loss: This is when there is a disruption of the mechanism that transfers sound from the ear canal, past the eardrum, through the middle ear bones and into the inner ear.

Conductive hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss is less common and often can be treated surgically.

In some cases, a large hole in the eardrum or abnormalities of the middle ear bones are the cause of conductive hearing loss. A relatively simple surgery can result in dramatic improvement.

Sensory hearing loss

Sensory hearing loss is most common. It occurs for several reasons.

Often times, genetics are involved—a person’s body is just predisposed to sensory hearing loss. It happens gradually with age. Or, sometimes, quite rapidly. Genetic makeup also causes some people to be more susceptible to hearing loss from noise trauma.

Certain medical conditions also can cause sensory hearing loss. These include autoimmune or systemic inflammatory conditions, like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

Medications such as aspirin and chemotherapy can cause sensory hearing loss as well.

Lastly, sensory hearing loss associated with aging is not unusual. It’s called presbycusis. This long, slow process of hearing degradation begins as early as age 10.

What is the treatment for hearing loss?

The first step in treating hearing loss is to check for underlying, reversible conditions.

Fluctuations in hearing often indicate that better hearing can be restored. The same is true for hearing loss associated with dizziness or drainage. However, if the hearing loss is determined to be permanent, the next question is: How much does the hearing loss affect your quality of life?

Some people have mild hearing losses that disrupt their lives very little. They find it quite natural to avoid crowded, noisy environments that make communication difficult. And they don’t mind asking people to speak more slowly and directly.

For others, these adjustments are unacceptable, or their hearing loss is too profound. That’s when we consider a variety of surgical and nonsurgical options.

Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment. We work to find the solution that is right for you.

Is a hearing aid the right solution for your hearing loss?

Hearing aids have improved dramatically in recent years.

With the shift from analog to digital technology, audiologist now can fine-tune the devices to compensate for your unique hearing challenges.

A modern hearing aid is not just an amplifier that makes everything louder. Instead, it is a device that enables better communication with your children, grandchildren, spouse, colleagues and others around you.

As you might guess, today’s hearing aids come with many different styles and features. Some fit in the ear canal and are essentially invisible. Others sit discreetly behind the ear. Some even connect wirelessly to your phone or music devices.

People with mild-to-severe hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids. Often times, hearing aids are most beneficial in situations where you cannot control the environment, such as in a restaurant or meeting.

If you have difficulty communicating with the people around you (or they have difficulty communicating with you) a hearing aid is probably the right solution.

When is surgery an option for hearing loss?

There are a few instances in which surgery is considered for hearing loss.

As mentioned above, surgical procedures are relatively standard for treating conductive hearing loss. In these instances, surgical correction of abnormalities in the structure of the ear can result in near-normal hearing.

Surgical implants are another option.

Depending on lifestyle and the severity of the hearing loss, a surgically implanted hearing aid or amplifier may be a good choice.

If hearing aids of any type cannot provide useful communication assistance, a cochlear implant is considered. With this treatment, an electrode is surgically placed in the inner ear. An external processor then converts speech and other sounds into an electrical signal that is transmitted to the inner ear.

Cochlear implants do not enable normal hearing, but they can tremendously benefit someone who otherwise would not perceive any sound.