Hearing Loss

Is hearing loss affecting your quality of life?

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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
  • Often ask others to repeat themselves

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, Ashford Clinic can help. Our Doctor of Audiology will perform a hearing health consultation and exam, including a hearing test, to assess hearing loss and work with the patient to develop a strategy to overcome hearing deficits.

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Treatment for hearing loss

“I can hear my spouse!”

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, but it can effectively be treated.

In some cases, a large hole in the eardrum or abnormalities of the middle ear bones are the cause of conductive hearing loss. A 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 a hearing health consultation with the Doctor of Audiology at Ashford Clinic 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 options available to help overcome hearing deficits.

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, our in-office 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 other devices.

If you have difficulty communicating with the people around you (or they have difficulty communicating with you), a hearing aid might be the right solution.

When is surgery an option for hearing loss?

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

As mentioned above, surgical procedures are common 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 may be considered. With this treatment, small medical device is placed in the inner ear that provides sound signals to the brain. 

Cochlear implants tremendously benefit someone with significant hearing loss, who otherwise would not perceive any sound.