Q&A About Hearing Loss

Q&A About Hearing Loss

Bonnie L. Baehr, Au.D. Hearing Loss

The stigma of hearing loss prevents many people from asking questions about their condition. The embarrassment of asking a “stupid” question is another barrier to people educating and empowering themselves about hearing impairment. Let’s get past that and dispel some notions about hearing loss. Hearing loss is a fast-growing health concern and the best way to address the situations is to be well informed by asking questions addressing your fears and concerns.

Is learning sign language a necessity?

Learning sign language will depend entirely on the level of hearing loss you are experiencing. An evaluation by a hearing health professional will get you in the right direction. If you are open and honest to them about your day to day experiences and needs then they will be better able to diagnose the best course of treatment for your specific needs. Provide details about your home and work environments, your recreational activities and take stock of which sounds have been affected most and what you need for a fuller listening experience.

Sign language is a wonderful second language to learn whether one needs it or not. It uses hand gestures, facial expressions and body language culminating in an expressive, dynamic language. It is also a fast-growing language and increasing in demand in the work force. 

Is deafness inevitable?

Not necessarily. An evaluation is paramount to understand the condition and level of the hearing impairment. This will allow your physician to determine if further tests and which type of tests are necessary. Once that has happened a comprehensive analysis and diagnosis can be made.

There are many types of hearing loss so it’s best to be forthcoming with your physician. Our hearing is a sense that does dissipate with age. Because there are so many factors that play into the decline of hearing loss it is best to consult with a hearing health professional. It is proven that hearing loss if neglected will degenerate at a faster rate. Hearing aids are also helpful as soon as their need is detected because permanent hearing damage is irreversible. The older you are the more important it is to attend to your hearing health so you can maintain a rich hearing experience with your friends and family.

If your hearing health professional recommends hearing aids it is best to equip yourself. According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), there are over 28 million Americans that could gain from their use!

Will hearing aids in both ears be necessary?

Yes. Because each side is sensitive to different sounds but both are needed in full working order for us to enjoy the full spectrum of sound. According to research conducted at UCLA, Yvonne Sininger, Ph.D., states: “We always assumed that our left and right ears worked exactly the same way. As a result, we tended to think it didn’t matter which ear was impaired in a person. Now we see that it may have profound implications for the individual’s speech and language development.”

Therefore, to have a full rich hearing experience and to save and savor all the complexities and nuances of sound we need to have both ears fitted for hearing aids. Once our hearing is impaired, our brain loses its ability to pick up and translate sound, so the longer that is neglected the worse our hearing. 

What are the natural cures for hearing loss?

Truthfully, there aren’t any. Once the cilia or the tiny hairs are damaged the hearing loss is permanent. The cilia are located in the cochlea or inner ear and they are responsible for carrying the frequencies of sound to the brain for interpretation. They are unable to regenerate in humans. Damage can be due to aging, medications hearing practices, noise pollution and genetics to list a few causes. Therefore, how we attend to our hearing health now and in the future is of utmost importance.

The good news is that if we are vigilant and proactive, we can instill measures of prevention that will ensure healthy hearing for the duration of our lives. Here are a few measures we can take to keep our ears happy and healthy:

  • Loud environments – Avoid them as much as you possibly can. Construction sites, firearms, fireworks, musical concerts and even the constant blare of horns from traffic can cause heavy duty harm.
  • Ear plugs – Cheap and easy to carry. Should be used when you are in a situation where there is over 85 decibels of sound in your immediate environment.
  • Audio devices – if you have to use earbuds keep the volume at 60 percent for 60 minutes. Noise cancelling headphones would be the better option.
  • Hearing assessment – Get an evaluation from a hearing health professional and find one you can develop an ongoing relationship with. It is recommended to get a check-up every 5 years as an adult and then every 3 years after the age of 50. 

Would a cochlear implant be the best course of action?

Not necessarily. A cochlear implant is usually a procedure that is resorted to when hearing aids have been found to not have any benefit whatsoever. Cochlear implants are inserted surgically into the cochlea of the inner ear and is an all electrical based hearing device as opposed to our natural acoustical hearing. Their use is prevalently for children that have been born without any hearing ability. However, if adults are unable to use hearing aids, they might be candidates for cochlear implants.

Hearing aids are non-invasive and are available in a variety of styles and modes. If they part of the treatment an audiologist would discuss and make the best recommendations dependent upon your needs.

Beverly Hills Hearing Center

Beverly Hills Hearing Center is looking forward to hear from you or someone close to you to cater to your hearing needs. We are only a phone call away and you are only an appointment to getting your hearing health assessed and treated for the best possible hearing experience you can and should have!