How Do We Hear?
An Explanation of Hearing
What many people do not realize is that hearing well is a combination of not just hearing sounds, but also processing what you hear. Hearing aids will help with amplification of sound, if that is all you require. Hearing tests are helpful in determining just what you need to hear better, and we can assist you with this determination.
About Hearing Loss
Do you think you might have hearing loss? Here are a few clues to look for:
- Does it seem like everyone is mumbling or not speaking clearly?
- Am I always having to ask others to repeat themselves?
- Am I told that I play my music or television too loud?
- Is it especially difficult to hear when in noisy spaces like restaurants?
- Has a trusted loved one or friend mentioned I might be losing my hearing?
Did you answer YES to at least one of these questions? Do not feel alone! More than 36 million Americans experience hearing loss and for most of us, it is a natural occurrence as we age. The good news is, we can help!
It can take some of us a little while to come to terms with our hearing loss, but when we do, the technology of hearing aids will open up a whole new world. Major studies have also pointed to a link between hearing loss and dementia, making it even more important to address your hearing issues.
Causes and Types of Hearing Loss
Many things outside of our control can cause hearing loss such as:
- Aging (presbycusis)
- Infections (otitis media)
- Injury to the head/ear
- Birth defects or genetics
- Ototoxic reaction to drugs or cancer treatment
What we do have control over is noise: sounds make delicate hair cells in our inner ears vibrate and if we overload them with exposure to loud noises, we damage them. This results in sensorineural hearing loss and even tinnitus, also known as ringing in the ears.
The hair cells that vibrate most quickly are the ones that enable us to hear high frequency sounds, like birds singing and children speaking. Sadly, these are the ones that are damaged first by loud noise, such as construction, rock music, or gunfire.
More information about hearing loss is explained in this video:
Keep in mind that pretty much everyone who believes they have one "good" ear actually have two "bad" ears. The truth is, when one ear is slightly better than the other, we learn to favor that ear when we are straining to hear. Most types of hearing loss affect both ears fairly equally and a very large majority of our patients need hearing instruments for both ears.