Can You Repeat That?
September 02, 2017
Submitted by the Central Illinois Hearing & Balance Center, a Division of Finn R. Amble, MD, FACS, SC
Sometimes people are worried about their hearing, but they are hesitant to do anything about it. It’s human nature to put off things that aren’t emergencies, and sometimes we don’t want to confront a hearing problem because we are afraid of knowing the results. If family members complain that the TV is too loud, or find themselves repeating sentences, it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that you just like the TV loud, or that people are not speaking clearly. So how do you know if you have hearing loss?
See an audiologist for a hearing test if you experience the following symptoms:
- Have trouble hearing over the telephone
- Find it hard to follow conversations when two or more people are talking
- Often ask people to repeat what they are saying
- Need to turn up the TV volume so loud that others complain
- Have a problem hearing because of background noise
- Think that others seem to mumble
- Can’t understand when women and children speak to you
There are different types of hearing losses, which are typically characterized by which part of the auditory system is damaged. These types of hearing losses are sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss. By visiting an audiologist, your type of hearing loss (if any) will be documented along with further recommendations.
Do you have ringing, roaring, or hissing noises in your ears?
These sounds are otherwise characterized as tinnitus and can go hand-in-hand with many types of hearing losses. It can also be a sign of other health problems, such as high blood pressure or allergies. Often it is unclear what causes tinnitus, which may come and go, disappear quickly, or be permanent.
Hearing loss can have many different causes.
Loud noise exposure is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Noise from lawn mowers, snow blowers, or loud music can damage the inner ear. This can result in permanent hearing loss. You can prevent most noise-related hearing loss. Protect yourself by turning down the sound on your stereo, television, or headphones; move away from loud noise, or use earplugs or other ear protection.
Ear wax or fluid buildup can block sounds that are carried into the inner ear. If wax blockage is a problem, try using mild treatments, such as mineral oil, baby oil, glycerin, or commercial ear drops to soften ear wax. If wax blockage does not improve, see a specialist for removal. A punctured eardrum can also cause hearing loss. The eardrum can be damaged by infection, pressure, or putting objects in the ear, including cotton-tipped swabs. Always see your doctor if you have pain or fluid draining from the ear.
Viruses and bacteria, a heart condition, stroke, brain injury, or a tumor may also affect your hearing. If you have hearing problems caused by a new medication, check with your doctor to see if another medicine can be used.
Hearing loss is very common and is linked to many other health issues, including cardiovascular disease and dementia. Today, there are many ways to improve your hearing. The best thing to do is see an audiologist who can check your hearing and provide solutions.
Ask your primary care physician for a referral to the Central Illinois Hearing and Balance Center, a Division of Finn R. Amble, MD, FACS, SC for a hearing evaluation with their audiologist. Please give their office a call today at 309-661-0232.
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