Hearing loss is a major health concern across America. In fact, it’s the third most common physical condition reported amongst people in the U.S., following arthritis and heart disease.
Hearing loss affects about 20% of the population in the San Jose region and develops in people young and old alike.
Loud noise exposure is the leading cause of hearing loss, followed by the natural aging process.
What Are the Signs of Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss is a condition that nearly always develops gradually over time. Since symptoms develop slowly, it’s easy for patients to remain unaware of their condition for far too long. In fact, it takes Californians an average of seven years to seek medical treatment after the onset of hearing loss. Knowing the symptoms of hearing loss is the best way to ensure you take action when you need to, rather than waiting months or years to see an audiologist for a hearing exam. Some common signs of hearing loss include:
- Frequently asking others to repeat themselves
- Thinking people often mumble or speak too quickly
- Struggling to follow conversation when there’s a lot of background noise
- Turning up the volume on the television or radio
- Withdrawing from group conversations
- Avoiding social gatherings in loud environments
Often, a family member or friend will be the first to notice that your hearing is worsening. Since early diagnosis and treatment is most effective, it’s important to get your hearing checked out regularly. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with a San Jose audiologist—the sooner, the better!
Types of Hearing Loss
There are three types of hearing loss, each of which affects a different section of the ear. They are typically treated using different techniques depending on the type of hearing loss you have.
Conductive hearing loss is associated with problems related to the outer or middle ear. Causes include ear infections, wax buildups and abnormal bone growths, also called surfer’s ear. This type of hearing loss is often temporary in nature and can usually be corrected procedurally, surgically or medically. Alternatively, it may be treated with hearing aids.
Sensorineural hearing loss involves a problem with the inner ear and can also be called “nerve deafness.” This type of hearing loss is typically treated with hearing aids, though some cases may require medications (corticosteroids) or surgery. Causes include:
- Noise exposure
- Head or neck trauma
- Infection or disease
- Ménière’s disease
- Malformation or abnormality of the inner ear
Mixed hearing loss is caused by some combination of sensorineural and conductive damage. Treatment can involve certain procedures, medications, surgery and/or hearing aids.