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About Hearing Loss

48 million people have hearing loss in America.  Hearing loss is a common problem that can happen to anybody and many different things can lead to it. 

“When you lose your vision, you lose contact with things.
When you lose your hearing, you lose contact with people.”

Helen Keller

Hearing loss usually comes in a gradual manner. Some common signs of hearing loss are pain or ringing in the ears after exposure to loud noise, muffled speech, difficulty understanding speech in crowded areas, frequently asking people to repeat themselves, difficulty on the phone or inability to understand women or children.

Hearing loss affects the ability of the auditory system and the brain to code and decipher auditory information. As the hearing loss progresses other symptoms may include social isolation and inability to function in common social settings. If you or your loved ones feel you have significant hearing problems it is advisable to see an audiologist or your physician for evaluation.
If you answer yes to two or more of the items below, contact Beltone for a complimentary hearing exam to determine if you have a hearing loss.
  • People seem to mumble more frequently.
  • You experience ringing in your ears.
  • You often ask people to repeat themselves.
  • Your family complains that you play the radio or TV too loudly.
  • You no longer hear normal household sounds, such as the dripping of a faucet or the ringing of a doorbell.
  • You have difficulty understanding a conversation when in a large group or crowd.
  • You have trouble understanding all the words in a conversation.
  • You find telephone conversation increasingly difficult.
  • You have trouble hearing when your back is turned to the speaker.
  • You have been told you speak too loudly.

There are many reasons why we lose our hearing. The good news is that if you have a hearing loss, you can do something about it.

Hearing loss causes 

There are many reasons why we lose our hearing, but the most common are prolonged exposure to noise and the aging process. Other causes include ear infections, genetic predisposition, head injuries and certain medications. When the ear does not function properly, the brain does not receive sounds to interpret.

Hearing loss is very often gradual, so we don’t always notice how sounds become fainter over time. We may even start forgetting some of the sounds we were once used to hearing.

Hearing loss has great impact on our family, social and work lives, as it interferes with the way we normally communicate, which is by speaking and listening. Therefore, hearing loss can be isolating. Those with hearing loss may begin to withdraw from social situations. 

The good news is that if you have a hearing loss, you can do something about it. Regular use of hearing aids can improve your relationships with others, make you more confident in social situations, and boost your overall life quality. Beltone hearing aids make conversations easy again and help you reconnect to your surroundings and start living life to the fullest again. 

Types of hearing loss

One of the effects of hearing loss is a reduced ability to distinguish speech from noise. This is why, if you have hearing loss, you may feel that you hear fine in quiet situations but not in noisy ones. It is also common that high-pitched sounds like birdsong may disappear altogether.

The causes of hearing loss vary and the type of hearing loss is determined by the part of the ear in which the impairment occurs. There are generally four different types of hearing loss:

Conductive Hearing Loss

A conductive hearing loss is often temporary and can sometimes be corrected with wax removal, medication or surgery. Conductive loss stems from problems in the outer or middle ear and can be caused by:

  • Infection
  • Build-up of wax or fluid
  • Punctured eardrum
  • Otosclerosis – an abnormal bone development in the middle ear

Mixed Hearing Loss

With mixed hearing loss, both conductive and sensorineural losses occur at the same time.

In these cases, you may need treatment such as wax removal, medication, or surgery in addition to hearing aids.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss. In fact, it accounts for 90% of all adult hearing problems. Although the cause is not always known, it is often related to aging and a history of noise exposure. With sensorineural loss:

  • There are problems with the cochlea* and the auditory nerve*
  • Sounds not only diminish in volume, but become distorted
  • The ability to hear high-pitched sounds is usually affected first.
  • The ability to hear low-pitched sounds, such as vowel sounds, may be normal or relatively well-preserved

Temporary Hearing Loss

There are times where a hearing loss is temporary. A temporary hearing loss is common and can be caused by any of the following:

  • Excessive earwax
  • Ear infections
  • Allergies
  • Sinus problems
  • Certain medications

To find out if you or someone you love has a hearing loss, please contact your local Hearing Care Professional.

Tinnitus and Ringing in the Ears

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the name for the perception of sounds, such as ringing in your ears, buzzing or hissing, when these sounds are not present in the environment. Although the tinnitus sounds can be perceived as quite loud, objective measurements show that they are often fainter than the sound of a leaf falling to the ground.

As you notice the tinnitus sound and start paying attention to it, a strong negative emotional response can be triggered.

A vicious cycle is created where you pay even more attention to the tinnitus, and your brain loses its ability to filter out the irrelevant noise before it reaches your consciousness.

How Common is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is essentially heard by most people at some point in their lives, even those with normal hearing. There are many causes for tinnitus: it can be a by-product of loud noise exposure, such as a rock concert or a night out at a club, disappearing after a few hours or the morning after. It can also happen spontaneously without any reason, and then disappear as suddenly as it began. Many professionals believe this is just a function of the normal hearing system.

Understanding Your Tinnitus

If you have tinnitus, you are not alone. Between 10-15 percent of the population suffer from some degree of tinnitus, with more than half affected in both ears. 1 in 5 people in United States experience tinnitus and nearly 12 million people a year seek medical advice.

Beltone Tinnitus Calmer App

Distract your brain from focusing on your tinnitus with the help of Beltone’s Tinnitus Calmer app. Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android devices, the app offers a combination of Sound Therapy and relaxing exercises which can help provide relief from tinnitus.

What should I do if I suspect a hearing loss?

If you suspect you have a hearing loss, ignoring or neglecting it can make it worse. However, treating a hearing loss with hearing aids can dramatically slow its progression—helping you preserve good hearing for a lifetime. Schedule a free hearing evaluation with your nearest Beltone hearing care professional as soon as possible.