Hearing loss is a very difficult thing to deal with. When your hearing starts to deteriorate—even if it’s minor—your ability to experience the world around you and how you interact with loved ones is affected. While there are times when people experience a slight and temporary loss of hearing, such as after attending a loud concert or getting swimmer’s ear, a gradual and/or lingering loss of hearing may be permanent.
Anyone who has experienced any kind of hearing loss should seek medical attention. That being said, it can be difficult for people to tell the difference between temporary and permanent hearing loss, and thus, the severity of their condition. However, individuals who experience any type of hearing loss should get checked out by a doctor or audiologist because if left untreated, the condition may worsen. In some cases, what may have originally been a temporary loss of hearing can become permanent when treatment isn’t sought out as soon as possible.
So how can you tell if you’ve experienced hearing loss? We’ve got the answer. First, let’s explore what exactly causes or contributes to hearing loss.
What Causes Hearing Loss?
Many factors can contribute to hearing loss, such as age, regular exposure to loud noises, injury or illness, and more. Although hearing loss can occur at any age, it’s normal to experience a gradual reduction in hearing capacity and sound clarity as we get older. In fact, nearly half of all people aged 65 and older in the United States have experienced some form of hearing loss. Fortunately, hearing aids can treat hearing loss and help people achieve clearer and brighter sound.
When hearing loss occurs, it may either be temporary or permanent. Temporary hearing loss is common and has no long-lasting impact on the individual’s ability to hear clearly in the future. Permanent hearing loss, on the other hand, can happen either gradually or suddenly. Although permanent hearing loss is irreversible, there are many different types of hearing aids that can be adjusted to the individual’s unique type of hearing loss.
Below are some of the differences in causation between temporary and permanent hearing loss:
Temporary Hearing Loss Causes
- Excessive ear wax
- Swimmer’s ear
- Short-term exposure to very loud noises
- Illness or infection
- Minor injury
- Adverse reaction to medication (ototoxicity)
Permanent Hearing Loss Causes
- Illness or infection (such as Meningitis)
- Serious injury
- Genetic conditions
- Ruptured eardrum
- Abnormal bone growth
- Tumor in the ear
- Persistent exposure to very loud noises
Hearing Loss Symptoms
While a temporary loss or reduction in your hearing ability isn’t something to be alarmed about, lingering (and especially worsening) hearing loss should never be taken lightly. If you’ve noticed that your hearing isn’t as good as it used to be or that the hearing loss isn’t improving after two weeks of the initial symptoms, contact a doctor or hearing aid specialist right away.
Signs and symptoms that you may be experiencing (or have already experienced) hearing loss include, but are not limited to the following:
- Difficulty hearing certain words, vowels, or consonants clearly
- Trouble hearing certain sound pitches or frequencies
- Asking people who are speaking with you to repeat themselves or to speak louder and more slowly
- Having a hard time differentiating between multiple voices on the TV or in person, especially people at a distance or in a crowded room
- Having to turn up the volume on the television or radio more often than usual or listening consistently at a higher volume level
- Ringing in ears (tinnitus)
When to Seek Help for Hearing Loss
While sometimes hearing loss is only temporary, many people experience permanent and severe hearing loss if they don’t seek medical care as soon as their symptoms develop. Those who do experience permanent hearing loss can significantly benefit from the use of a hearing aid.
Whether the hearing loss is mild, moderate, or severe, it’s important to speak to a doctor or audiologist immediately in order to determine both the extent of the hearing loss and if the loss is the result of a more serious underlying factor. Once a professional has assessed the root cause and extent of the hearing loss, it’s time to discuss how to best address it.
How Hearing Aids Can Help People Who Have Experienced Hearing Loss
Hearing aids can help people with any range of hearing loss regain the ability to hear a range of sounds. While there are many different types of hearing aids, it’s important for anyone who has experienced a reduction in their ability to hear a variety of sounds clearly to know that there are options. Not everyone needs to undergo a fitting with an audiologist nor obtain a prescription to get hearing aids. Some people with mild to moderate hearing loss can actually obtain hearing aids on their own. That’s where we come in.
SoundBright allows anyone who has experienced hearing loss to easily browse and purchase affordable, medical-grade hearing aids from the comfort of their home. We offer a variety of devices that can be purchased online and offer Care Calls with licensed hearing professionals that can answer questions about hearing loss, the devices themselves, and what to expect when using hearing aids for the first time.
If you feel as though you have experienced hearing loss in any capacity, we are here for you. Check out our website to browse our available hearing devices and choose the one that best suits your needs.
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