My Hearing

Your hearing is important to us!

If you suffer from hearing loss, you’re not alone. In fact, nearly 40 million Americans—fathers, mothers, friends, children, grandparents, teachers, doctors, husbands, wives, lawyers, musicians – are also affected by some degree of hearing loss. The good news is there are effective ways to manage hearing loss. People with hearing loss live active, fulfilling lives. It doesn’t have to stop you from doing the things you love or enjoying the company of people you love.

The secret is taking the first step.
Acknowledge that you might have a hearing problem. Call us to schedule an appointment with a hearing professional at MHAPI, and you’ll be on your way to addressing your hearing loss. The sooner you start, the better off you’ll be.

Myths About Hearing

Hearing loss affects only “old people” and is merely a sign of aging.
Only 35% of people with hearing loss are older than age 64. There are close to six million people in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 44 with hearing loss, and more than one million are school age. Hearing loss affects all age groups.

If I had hearing loss, my family doctor would have told me.
Not true! Only 14% of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss during a physical. Since most people with hearing impairments hear well in a quiet environment like a doctor’s office, it can be virtually impossible for your physician to recognize the extent of your problem. Without special training, and an understanding of the nature of hearing loss, it may be difficult for your doctor to even realize that you have a hearing problem.

My hearing loss cannot be helped.
In the past, many people with hearing loss in one ear, with a high frequency hearing loss, or with nerve damage have all been told they cannot be helped, often by their family practice physician. This might have been true many years ago, but with modern advances in technology, nearly 95% of people with a sensorineural hearing loss can be helped with hearing aids.

The consequences of hiding hearing loss are better than wearing hearing aids.
What price are you paying for vanity? Untreated hearing loss is far more noticeable than hearing aids. If you miss a punch line to a joke, or respond inappropriately in conversation, people may have concerns about your mental acuity, your attention span or your ability to communicate effectively. The personal consequences of vanity can be life altering. At a simplistic level, untreated hearing loss means giving up some of the pleasant sounds you used to enjoy. At a deeper level, vanity could severely reduce the quality of your life.

Hearing aids will make me look “older” and “handicapped.”
Looking older is clearly more affected by almost all other factors besides hearing aids. It is not the hearing aids that make one look older, it is what one may believe they imply. If hearing aids help you function like a normal hearing person, for all intents and purposes, the stigma is removed. Hearing aid manufacturers are well aware that cosmetics is an issue to many people, and that’s why today we have hearing aids that fit totally in the ear canal. This CIC style of hearing aid has enough power and special features to satisfy most individuals with hearing impairment. But more importantly, keep in mind that “an untreated hearing loss is more obvious than a hearing aid.” Smiling and nodding your head when you don’t understand what’s being said, makes your condition more apparent than the largest hearing aid.

*Myths about Hearing provided by BETTER HEARING INSTITUTE.

Hearing Loss 101

Signs of Hearing Loss

The signs of hearing loss can be subtle and emerge slowly, or early signs of hearing loss can be significant and come about suddenly. Either way, there are common indications and hearing impaired signs. You should suspect hearing loss if you experience any of the signs below.

Socially:

  • require frequent repetition.
  • have difficulty following conversations involving more than 2 people.
  • think that other people sound muffled or like they’re mumbling.
  • have difficulty hearing in noisy situations, like conferences, restaurants, malls, or crowded meeting rooms.
  • have trouble hearing children and women.
  • have your TV or radio turned up to a high volume.
  • answer or respond inappropriately in conversations.
  • have ringing in your ears.
  • read lips or more intently watch people’s faces when they speak with you.

Emotionally:

  • feel stressed out from straining to hear what others are saying.
  • feel annoyed at other people because you can’t hear or understand them.
  • feel embarrassed to meet new people or from misunderstanding what others are saying.
  • feel nervous about trying to hear and understand.
  • withdraw from social situations that you once enjoyed because of difficulty hearing.

Medically:

  • have a family history of hearing loss.
  • take medications that can harm the hearing system (ototoxic drugs).
  • have diabetes, heart, circulation or thyroid problems.
  • have been exposed to very loud sounds over a long period or single exposure to explosive noise.

Types of Hearing Loss

A comprehensive audiologic evaluation must be completed in order to determine the types and severity of hearing loss to make appropriate recommendations for each patient. Audiologic data from testing provides a clinical foundation for recommendations on hearing aids and other assistive devices suitable for treating the types of hearing impairments listed below.

In general terms, there are two types of hearing loss, conductive and sensorineural. A combination of both is also seen as a mixed hearing loss. Each is discussed below.

Conductive Hearing Loss:

Conductive hearing loss is caused by any condition or disease that impedes the conveyance of sound in its mechanical form through the middle ear cavity to the inner ear. A conductive hearing loss can be the result of a blockage in the external ear canal or can be caused by any disorder that unfavorably effects the middle ear’s ability to transmit the mechanical energy to the stapes footplate. This results in reduction of one of the physical attributes of sound called intensity (loudness), so the energy reaching the inner ear is lower or less intense than that in the original stimulus. Therefore, more energy is needed for the individual with a conductive hearing loss to hear sound, but once it’s loud enough and the mechanical impediment is overcome, that ear works in a normal way. Generally, the cause of conductive hearing loss can be identified and treated resulting in a complete or partial improvement in hearing. Following the completion of medical treatment for cause of the conductive hearing loss, hearing aids are effective in correcting the remaining hearing loss.

The audiometric profile that indicates a conductive hearing loss is the presence of air-bone gaps (better hearing by bone conduction than by air conduction), excellent word recognition at a comfortable listening level, and evidence of a middle ear dysfunction on immittance. For situations where a blockage is noted in the external ear canal, hearing testing is deferred until the canal is cleared.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss:

The second type of hearing loss is called sensorineural hearing loss. This word can be divided into its two components – sensory and neural – to allow us more clarity in specifying the type of hearing loss. The comprehensive audiometric assessment and supplemental tests can yield the information needed to differentiate between a sensory and a neural hearing loss, although they can co-exist in the same ear. Neural hearing loss is another name for retrocochlear hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss results from inner ear or auditory nerve dysfunction. The sensory component may be from damage to the organ of Corti or an inability of the hair cells to stimulate the nerves of hearing or a metabolic problem in the fluids of the inner ear. The neural or retrocochlear component can be the result of severe damage to the organ of Corti that causes the nerves of hearing to degenerate or it can be an inability of the hearing nerves themselves to convey neurochemical information through the central auditory pathways.

The reason for sensorineural hearing loss sometimes cannot be determined, it does not typically respond favorably to medical treatment, and it is typically described as an irreversible, permanent condition. Like conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss reduces the intensity of sound, but it might also introduce an element of distortion into what is heard resulting in sounds being unclear even when they are loud enough. Once any medically treatable conditions have been ruled out, the treatment for sensorineural hearing loss is amplification through hearing aids.

Mixed Hearing Loss:

A mixed hearing loss can be thought of as a sensorineural hearing loss with a conductive component overlaying all or part of the audiometric range tested. So, in addition to some irreversible hearing loss caused by an inner ear or auditory nerve disorder, there is also a dysfunction of the middle ear mechanism that makes the hearing worse than the sensorineural loss alone. The conductive component may be amenable to medical treatment and reversal of the associated hearing loss, but the sensorineural component will most likely be permanent. Hearing aids can be beneficial for persons with a mixed hearing loss, but caution must be exercised by the hearing care professional and patient if the conductive component is due to an active ear infection.

*Hearing Loss 101 provided by BETTER HEARING INSTITUTE

Myths About Hearing

Protect Your Hearing

The ability to hear is a gift. It’s something to value and protect.

While many things outside our control can cause hearing loss, one thing over which we do have some control is noise.

Noise causes hearing loss. Yet, every day you can protect your hearing by keeping down the volume—on smartphones, MP3 players, stereos, televisions, and other audio devices. Also, take care to limit the duration and volume when using earbuds and headphones. When you do know you’ll be around loud noise, wear ear protection, and get into the habit of using your fingers to quickly plug your ears when an unexpected loud sound, like a siren, suddenly bombards you.

Noise threatens our hearing because we hear sound when delicate hair cells in our inner ears vibrate. This creates nerve signals that the brain understands as sound. If we overload these delicate hair cells with exposure to loud noises, we damage them. This results in sensorineural hearing loss and often tinnitus—or “ringing in the ears.” The hair cells that vibrate most quickly—and that allow us to hear higher-frequency sounds like birds singing and children speaking—usually become damaged, dying first.

In addition to excessive noise — from construction, rock music, or gunfire, for example — the main causes of hearing loss are:

  • Aging (presbycusis)
  • Sudden onset
  • Infections (otitis media)
  • Injury to the head or ear
  • Birth defects or genetics (e.g., otosclerosis)
  • Ototoxic reaction to drugs or cancer treatment (e.g., antibiotics, chemotherapy, radiation)

For more information on the causes of hearing loss and prevention, visit the professionals at Victoria Hearing Center.

*Protect Your Hearing Facts provided by BETTER HEARING INSTITUTE

Hearing Aid Facts

Protect Your Hearing

The ability to hear is a gift. It’s something to value and protect.

While many things outside our control can cause hearing loss, one thing over which we do have some control is noise.

Noise causes hearing loss. Yet, every day you can protect your hearing by keeping down the volume—on smartphones, MP3 players, stereos, televisions, and other audio devices. Also, take care to limit the duration and volume when using earbuds and headphones. When you do know you’ll be around loud noise, wear ear protection, and get into the habit of using your fingers to quickly plug your ears when an unexpected loud sound, like a siren, suddenly bombards you.

Noise threatens our hearing because we hear sound when delicate hair cells in our inner ears vibrate. This creates nerve signals that the brain understands as sound. If we overload these delicate hair cells with exposure to loud noises, we damage them. This results in sensorineural hearing loss and often tinnitus—or “ringing in the ears.” The hair cells that vibrate most quickly—and that allow us to hear higher-frequency sounds like birds singing and children speaking—usually become damaged, dying first.

In addition to excessive noise — from construction, rock music, or gunfire, for example — the main causes of hearing loss are:

  • Aging (presbycusis)
  • Sudden onset
  • Infections (otitis media)
  • Injury to the head or ear
  • Birth defects or genetics (e.g., otosclerosis)
  • Ototoxic reaction to drugs or cancer treatment (e.g., antibiotics, chemotherapy, radiation)

For more information on the causes of hearing loss and prevention, visit the professionals at Victoria Hearing Center.

*Protect Your Hearing Facts provided by BETTER HEARING INSTITUTE

Hearing Checklist
If two or more of these statements apply, you may have a hearing loss and should schedule a hearing evaluation with at one of our convenient locations. Just click the button above to find a location near you, or book an appointment by calling
(612) 871-1144.

  • I have trouble following the conversation when two or more people are talking at the same time.
  • Many people I talk to seem to mumble (or do not speak clearly)
  • I have trouble understanding TV or conversations on the telephone.
  • I frequently ask people to repeat themselves.
  • I have trouble understanding conversations in a noisy background, such as restaurants.
  • I sometimes misunderstand what others are saying and make inappropriate responses.
  • I especially have trouble understanding the speech of women and children.
  • People get annoyed because I misunderstand what they say.
  • I avoid social gatherings, such as church, because I cannot hear well.
  • Family members and friends have told me they think I may have a hearing loss.