Is it Time for a Hearing Test?

It’s never a bad idea to get your hearing checked even if you don’t think you’re having any problems hearing.  A baseline assessment of your hearing can always be used as a comparison years from now when you think you might be having a problem.  If you finding yourself answering yes to the following questions, then it’s time to get your hearing checked.

Do others complain the TV is too loud?
Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy room?
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Do you ask others to repeat themselves?
Do you avoid going out because you’ll struggle to hear?

Testing Explained

Case History

We’ll begin by taking a detailed history. We’ll ask a series of questions about your medical, work and personal life as it relates to your ears and your hearing.

Physical Examination

The next step is an examination of your ears.  We’ll thoroughly examine your ears for any physical condition that might indicate a need for a medical referral.

Pure Tone Audiometry

Wearing headphones, your hearing levels are measured using tones and words.  Providing us with sensitivity levels and discrimination ability.

Speech Recognition

A series of words will be presented at varying intensity (loudness) level to assess how well an individual is able to process speech information.Spee

What is it Like to Have a Hearing Loss?

Hearing Loss Dementia

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.

Your Heart & Hearing Loss

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.

Depression & Hearing Loss

Research shows that hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of depression in adults of all ages, but is most pronounced between ages 18 to 69. Research also shows that the use of hearing aids reduces depressive symptoms.

Are there different types of hearing loss?

We get many questions from our patients, but this one pops up quite a bit.  We figure our patients can’t be the only ones asking if there are different types of hearing loss, so we thought we’d provide an answer.

Yes, there are different types of hearing loss. 

There are four commonly recognized different types of hearing loss:

  • Conductive
  • Sensorineural
  • Mixed
  • Central

Conductive Hearing Loss

A conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently through the ear canal, eardrum, or through the tiny bones of the middle ear.  This results in a reduction of the loudness of a sound. Common causes of a conductive hearing loss include:

  • Trauma to the ear
  • Fluid in the middle ear
  • Excessive wax in the outer ear canal
  • Outer ear infection

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Often referred to (in error) as “nerve deafness” a sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the hair cells in the cochlea. These cells cannot be repaired or replaced. Common causes of sensorineural hearing loss include:

  • Exposure to loud noises
  • The aging process
  • Viral Infections
  • Trauma to the ear
  • Medications that are toxic to the ear

Typically a sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and irreversible.  The only solution for most people with a sensorineural hearing loss to improve their ability to hear is to use hearing aids.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Some people have both a conductive and a sensorineural hearing loss.  A combination of the two different types is referred to as a mixed hearing loss. For example, a mixed loss can occur when someone has a sensorineural hearing loss and develops fluid in their middle ear causing a conductive hearing loss. 

They may notice a decline in their ability to hear as a result of the temporary change in their hearing caused by the conductive hearing loss.  Once the conductive hearing loss is resolved, their hearing levels should return to the level it was prior to the conductive hearing loss.

Central Hearing Loss

Our outer and inner ears allow us to “hear” sound, but the brain, allows us to “understand” sound.  Various medical issues can cause our processing of auditory stimuli to breakdown causing a central hearing loss also known as an auditory processing disorder.

Persons with a central hearing loss can hear sound but have difficulty with understanding or processing what they heard. When a central hearing loss is suspected, there are tests that can be done to determine if a hearing loss is due to a central auditory processing problem.

The type of hearing loss you have is just one piece of the puzzle…next week we’ll discuss the different degrees of hearing loss.

A hearing loss isn’t an all or none experience.  The gradual decline that most people experience means that the situations in which they experience listening difficulties become more frequent while the situations where they can hear without asking for frequent repetitions become fewer.  One way for the person with the hearing loss to cope is to stop putting themselves in scenarios where they know they’ll struggle to hear (the movies, crowded restaurants, noisy parties, and so on.)

Be patient.  As a friend or family member, this does not mean that you must endure years of repeating yourself.  Instead, have patience with helping your loved one come to the realization that they have a problem and the problem needs to be solved.  The solution is not to turn everyone around into a hearing aid, but to encourage them to see if there is a solution to their hearing problem.  Call us we can help.

“It seems there is no effort too great for Dr. Trent to make in order to find the best hearing aids for her patients. We are still in the process, but I have found the doctor and her staff always eager to accommodate, to adjust, or to try something else, to take time to go over what works and what doesn’t. My hearing challenges are great, but I look forward to having just the right answer soon!”

—Jeanne Slawson

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Schedule Your Appointment Now

Bowie Location

10111 Martin Luther King Jr. Hwy Suite 102
Bowie, MD 20720

Office Hours

M & Th: 8:30AM - 4:30PM
Friday: 2:00PM - 4:30PM

Oxon Hill Location

16196 Oxon Martin Rd. Suite 240
Oxon HIll, MD 20745

Office Hours

T & W: 8:30AM - 4:30PM
Friday: 8:30AM - 12:00PM

Hearing Healthcare Services