Posts for tag: Hearing Loss
Hearing loss affects about 15 percent of American adults and school-aged children according to the Hearing Loss Association of America and the National Institutes of Health. Many people ignore hearing loss, and unfortunately, it often progresses causing serious issues when they are seniors. Here are a few of the possible causes of hearing loss and advice for how a Greer and Spartanburg, SC ENT can help you restore your hearing.
Exposure to Loud Noises
Many people report hearing loss after going places where there is loud music or fireworks. That includes concerts, parties, and Independence Day festivities. The loud sounds can do damage to the inner parts of the ear, especially when in close proximity to a speaker. Listening to loud music while using earphones can also be a problem. In some cases, the hearing loss can be temporary and go away on its own. But if it is prolonged or a ringing sound in the ears persists, you should see a Greer and Spartanburg, SC ENT for a checkup.
Ear Infections or Waxy Buildup
An ear infection is a condition that is common in children and also in people who swim often. Sometimes an untreated ear infection can cause hearing loss. In other cases, there may be water trapped inside of the ear or a build-up of ear wax in the ear canal that is making it difficult to hear. Some patients have growths inside of the ear that aren’t visible to the naked eye but are affecting their ability to hear clearly.
Aging or Genetics
The loss of hearing ability is common in senior citizens because of the aging process. Parts of the inner ear, including the nerves and cochlea, can become damaged over time. Hearing loss can also be a birth defect. The National Institutes of Health estimate that about two or three children out of 1,000 are born with a hearing problem.
Treating Hearing Loss
There are ways that a Greer and Spartanburg, SC ENT doctor can treat you for hearing loss, no matter the cause. Early intervention is best. Call 864-582-2900 for Spartanburg or 864-699-6970 for Greer, SC.
Like visual impairment and trouble remembering things, progressive hearing loss is typically thought of as an ailment that comes with old age. And while getting older is one of the most common causes, everyone is susceptible to infections or injuries in the ear that can also lead to impaired hearing.
Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss
If you're over the age of 65, there's a good chance (roughly 1 in 2, to be exact) that certain sounds seem a bit more muffled and less audible than usual. Has the whole world suddenly started mumbling? Not likely. Prolonged exposure to loud noises and the effects of time account for a majority of hearing problems among older adults. Other factors, like wax buildup and infections, can also affect the ear's ability to process and properly transmit the electrical signals to the brain that interpret different sounds. So how do you know if your hearing is fading, or if your ears just need a good cleaning? In addition to getting our hearing checked from time to time, especially as we get older, knowing the signs of progressive hearing loss and addressing the problem as early as possible is the best way to prevent permanent damage.
The hearing specialists at Spartanburg & Greer ENT in South Carolina advise their patients to pay attention to the following signs and symptoms of partial hearing loss:
- Sounds and speech sound muffled
- Frequently feel the need to turn up the volume on music or t.v.
- Difficulty understanding speech and distinguishing sounds against background noise
- Difficulty following conversations against background noise
Hearing Loss Prevention and Treatment in Spartanburg
Treatment options depend on the cause and severity of the hearing loss, and range from medication, hearing aids, and surgery.
Contact an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor in Spartanburg
For more information on hearing impairment and ear injury treatment, contact Spartanburg & Greer ENT by calling 864-582-2900 to schedule an appointment with an otolaryngologist today.
[adapted from The Better Hearing Institute]
As summer vacation gets into full swing, Spartanburg & Greer ENT is urging children and adults to protect their hearing, reminding them that noise-induced hearing loss cannot be reversed.
Summer brings a chorus of sweet sounds. But it also brings noise that can be harmful to our ears. Prolonged exposure to the roar of lawn mowers, power tools, motorized recreational vehicles, target shooting, concerts, loud sporting events, and fireworks all can wreak havoc on our hearing. In fact, the single bang of a firecracker at close range can permanently damage hearing in an instant, making it forever more difficult to hear the subtler sounds of summer.
While many noisy recreational activities are part of summer’s delight, it is extremely important to take precautions to ensure that these activities do not damage our hearing.
Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Both the loudness of the noise and the length of time you’re exposed to it matter. But by taking some simple measures, people can protect their hearing while still enjoying their summer activities.
Spartanburg & Greer ENT offers some simple tips to follow:
- Use earplugs: When you know you will be exposed to loud sounds, use earplugs. Disposable earplugs, made of foam or silicone, are typically available at local pharmacies. They are practical because you still can hear music and the conversation of those around you when you have them in your ears. But when they fit snuggly, they are effective in adequately blocking out dangerously loud sounds. Custom ear protection crafted to fit each unique ear also is available from your local hearing healthcare professional. Custom protection ensures a proper fitting mold each time, further reducing the risk of unwanted noise exposure.
- Leave the fireworks to the professionals: Make sure your family and friends fully enjoy the summer and all its fireworks festivities by celebrating smart. Leave the fireworks to the professionals. When watching the show, stay a safe distance away—where you can enjoy the colors and lights, but not expose yourself and your family to loud noises. To protect your hearing, make sure you are wearing earplugs and that they are securely in place before the show begins. And be sure to keep them in for the entire show.
- Keep the volume down: When listening to smartphones and MP3 players, keep them at a low volume. Importantly, limit your use of headphones and earbuds.
- Limit your time in noisy environments: Do all you can to limit the length of time you spend in a noisy environment. And when you do participate in noisy activities, alternate them with periods of quiet.
- Take measures to protect against swimmer’s ear: Be sure to dry your ears completely after swimming. And do your best to drain any residual water from your ear canal by tilting your head to the side. Also, monitor the bacterial count when swimming at the beach. Many beaches post signs. Stay out of the water on the days that the bacterial counts are high.
- Visit your local hearing healthcare professional: A hearing healthcare professional can provide a hearing test to determine your baseline hearing level and determine if you have any hearing loss that should be addressed. Hearing healthcare professionals also can provide custom-fitted ear protection to help you preserve your hearing.
We often take our hearing for granted. But the truth is that hearing loss, especially when left unaddressed, affects our quality of life. Hearing is a significant connection to the world, and we should do all we can to protect it.
Hearing aids today are dramatically more advanced than the hearing aids of even just a few years ago. Many of today’s hearing aids allow users to hear from all directions, in all sorts of sound environments, and even underwater.
They are digital, wireless, can connect directly to your smartphone or television, and can be as discreet or as visible as you like. A new rechargeable feature on some newly designed hearing aids even allows you to recharge your hearing aids every night, so there’s no more need for small batteries.
Research shows that hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of depression in adults of all ages, but is most pronounced in 18 to 69 year olds. Research also shows that the use of hearing aids reduces depressive symptoms. () ()
Research not only shows a connection between hearing loss and dementia, but a Johns Hopkins study of older adults found that hearing loss actually accelerates brain function decline. Some experts believe that interventions, like hearing aids, could potentially delay or prevent dementia. Research is ongoing. ()
Cardiovascular and hearing health are linked. Some experts say the inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow that it’s possible that abnormalities in the cardiovascular system could be noted here earlier than in other less sensitive parts of the body. ()
Research on women’s health shows that a higher level of physical activity is associated with a lower risk of hearing loss. Conversely, a higher body mass index (BMI) and larger waist circumference in women are each associated with a higher risk of hearing loss. ()
A groundbreaking study found that men with hearing loss had an increased risk of mortality, but hearing aids made a difference. Men and women with hearing loss who used hearing aids—although older and with more severe hearing loss—had a significantly lower mortality risk than those with hearing loss who did not use hearing aids. ()
One study found that the regular use of aspirin, NSAIDs, or acetaminophen increases the risk of hearing loss in men, and the impact is larger on younger individuals. A separate study found that ibuprofen and acetaminophen are associated with an increased risk of hearing loss in women, with the link even stronger among women younger than 50. () ()