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Oklahoma Ear Institute

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More than 10 percent of people suffer from a significant hearing loss. Some people are born with hearing loss, while others develop a hearing loss which could be due to working in a noisy environment or from an ear disease. However, the majority of adults have hearing losses that are simply associated with the natural process of aging. Regardless of the cause, the real problem with hearing loss is that most people do not know that help is available. 

Approaches to Better Hearing

Most people have their own ideas about what life is like with hearing loss; however, thanks to the many advances in the field of hearing healthcare, your life does not have to change for the worse. Today's hearing instruments offer superior sound processing which will effectively compensate for most hearing disorders. For today's patient, choosing a hearing instrument to compensate for a hearing loss is vey similar to choosing a pair of glasses to improve your vision. An Audiologist can diagnose the nature of your hearing loss and recommend the best course of treatment/action for you or someone close to you. 

How to Tell Whether You Have A Hearing Loss

Most hearing loss occurs gradually, making many signs will go unnoticed. To make a quick assessment of your own hearing, ask yourself these simple questions. If you answer yes to any of these questions, you will definitely benefit from a more thorough examination of your hearing. Remember, it is best to see an Audiologist for this examination. 

1. Do people seem to mumble or speak in a softer voice than they used to?
2. Do you miss key words in a sentence, or frequently need to ask people to repeat themselves?
3. When you are in a group, or noisy restaurant, do you have difficulty following the conversation?
4. When you are together with other people, does background noise bother you?
5. Do you often need to turn up the volume on your TV or radio?
6. Do you have difficulty hearing the doorbell or telephone ring?
7. Is carrying on a telephone conversation difficult?
8. Has someone close to you mentioned that you might have a problem with your hearing?

Causes of Hearing Loss

The human ear is normally extremely sensitive to a wide range of sounds. Sound vibrations are processed by the ears, the nervous system, and the brain, becoming what we perceive as "sound signals." The ears are very delicate and our hearing can diminish for many reasons. The majority of people develop hearing loss as they get older. The ear's delicate mechanism may break down or simply wear out. 

Three Types of Hearing Loss

Conductive Hearing Loss - This type of hearing loss occurs when sound from the outside world cannot be transmitted normally through the ear canal and/or middle ear to the inner ear. Common causes include wax in the ear canal, perforated eardrum, fluid in the middle ear, or damaged ossicles (middle ear bones).

Sensorineural Hearing Loss - This type of hearing loss happens when the hair cells (nerves) of the inner ear break down. They become unable to change the sound vibrations into the electrical signals needed by the auditory nerve. The nerve pathway can also become damaged preventing the signals from reaching the brain. The primary cause for this type of hearing loss is aging; however, it can also be due to noise exposure. 

Mixed Hearing Loss - This hearing loss is caused by combination of problems in the middle and inner ear. 

Find out what hearing loss services OU Physicians provides.