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Hearing Health FAQs

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Am I a Candidate for Hearing Instruments?

Almost anyone who is experiencing difficulty with communication due to hearing loss is a candidate for hearing instruments. There are some hearing losses that can be medically treated without a need for amplification (hearing aids). However, that is typically the exception and not the rule. The good news is there are usually warning signs

What Are the Signs of Hearing Loss?

• Do you feel that people mumble and do not speak clearly?
• Do you understand some people better than others?
• Do you frequently ask people to speak up or repeat themselves?
• Do you have difficulty understanding on the phone?
• Do you find it difficult to follow a conversation in a crowded room or with background noise?
• Do you turn the volume of the television or radio up louder than is comfortable for others?
• Do you find it difficult to hear in public places, such as an auditorium or church?
• Do family and friends comment on your inability to hear?
• Do you ever concentrate to listen so hard that you become fatigued?
• Do you have ringing in your ears?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may have a hearing loss and should have your hearing evaluated by a hearing professional. It is recommended that everyone have his or her hearing tested annually.

Can hearing loss affect mental well-being?

Yes, with a hearing loss, it is difficult to understand speech. What is not sufficiently appreciated is that a patient’s emotional and mental state may also be affected by the disrupted communication patterns caused by hearing loss. A patient with hearing loss is four times as likely to manifest psychological disturbances than a person with normal hearing. There is also evidence that hearing loss can exacerbate the behavioral picture of patients with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders.

What causes ringing/noises in the ears?

Ringing (tinnitus is the technical term) in the absence of stimulating sound from outside the ear can be caused by many things, from fatigue to certain doses of medications such as aspirin. It is believed that the ringing is due to spontaneous activity in the cochlea. The most common cause of tinnitus is hearing loss, and in particular sensorineural hearing loss. This is probably because patients with sensorineural hearing loss have some damage in the cochlea that is causing the hearing loss. It is these damaged sections that are presumed to be producing the spontaneous activity that leads a patient to hear sounds in their ear.

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