Hearing loss is one of the most difficult problems many of us face as we get older. There are two types of hearing loss. One is conductive and the other is sensorineural. Conductive loss is due to a problem with the function of the moveable parts of the ear. Yes, there are small bones within the ear which move to amplify the sounds that enter the ear canal. This also includes the eardrum which can lose its vibration ability if it is injured or had fluid behind it from an infection. All of these medical problems can be diagnosed by performing a hearing test and examining the ear to make sure all of the moving parts of the ear are functioning normally. These conductive hearing problems can often be fixed by medication or surgery.
The other more common type of hearing loss is neurosensory. This has to do with nerve function of the organ of hearing. The cause could be hereditary, from aging, or possibly from medical conditions or medications.
An audiogram or hearing test is not invasive and can be performed on almost anyone. Also, hearing loss can be detected by using a simple tuning fork test. Regardless, it is important to find out if you have a hearing loss. Ask yourself, do you often bother people to repeat what they say? Do you complain that the television isn’t turned up loud enough? Don’t panic and don’t ignore hearing aids. Before you do anything get a hearing test.
Someone may ask why is it so important? From one standpoint there is a danger issue if your hearing has decreased. If you do not hear properly, your chances of having a serious accident are increased. There is also the day-to-day conversations that we all have with each other. Being left out of communication with others is isolating. As we get older, this can generate psychiatric problems. In addition, if you do have a hearing loss, it can be a sign of serious medical illnesses or reactions to medication.
This all sounds straight forward, but it’s not always easy to accept. For example, many individuals may remember relatives and people they knew with hearing aids and complained about the results. These patients may use this as an excuse to avoid the aid. Each of us are individuals. Only facts, such as a hearing test or a visit to an ear, nose, and throat doctor, will decide whether a hearing aid is necessary. There also may be a psychiatric barrier to accept a hearing aid, because many people feel it is a stigma of old age and feebleness.
There is also the cost of hearing aids that may prevent people from getting an aid. Check with your medical insurance plans. Many such companies are adding hearing aids to their policies. Don’t be taken by hearing aid dealers’ sales pitch. Look at the facts and then proceed. If you are not satisfied, get a second opinion.