How Quickly Will My Hearing Loss Progress?
Hearing loss is a condition that affects millions of Americans. Most people start to experience hearing loss as they age, but certain health conditions, noise exposure, and even genetic predisposition, can expedite the issue. Hearing aids can help you compensate for hearing, but it is important to work with an audiologist to find the device that is best for you. If you have started to notice a decline in your hearing, here’s what you need to know about hearing loss.
What Is Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss is the natural progression of your sense of hearing. Many people start to experience hearing loss in their 20s, but the difference is not noticeable until much later in life. Certain lifestyle choices and other health conditions can cause you to have hearing loss earlier in life.
There are three basic categories of hearing loss. The first thing your audiologist should do after diagnosing you with hearing loss is determine which of the following categories you are in:
- Sensorineural hearing loss: This is the most common type of hearing loss. It is caused by damage to the inner ear. While this is most often attributed to aging, it can also be caused by injury.
- Conductive hearing loss: The type of hearing loss is caused by an obstruction between the middle and outer ear. It is usually attributed to earwax or the presence of a foreign object.
- Mixed hearing loss: This type of hearing loss is a combination of the other two categories. It affects all three parts of the ear.
What Are the Signs of Hearing Loss?
As people age, they may start to have a difficult time hearing soft sounds. This can make it difficult to carry on a conversation with people who are speaking quietly. You may also be unable to tolerate loud noises like you used to.
How Can I Slow the Progression of Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss typically progresses slowly. You may not notice the condition until you are in your 50s or 60s, but you probably started to lose your sense of hearing as early as your 20s. The rate of natural progression often stays the same, but if you frequently have loud noise exposure or have certain health conditions such as diabetes or an autoimmune disease, your hearing loss could progress more rapidly.
Does Wearing Hearing Aids Prevent Further Hearing Loss?
Wearing hearing aids is a good way to compensate for hearing loss, but it will not prevent the progression of the condition. However, because speech is heavily dependent on our auditory processing skills, wearing hearing aids may aid you with communication. Not only will you be able to hear other people when they are talking to you, but you will also be able to understand your pronunciation so that other people understand you.
Will My Hearing Aids Keep Up With the Progression of My Hearing Loss?
Hearing aids have a lifespan of up to 4-5 years. Annual testing will ensure that your Audiologist is keeping your hearing aids up to date by programming them with your annual testing results. If your hearing loss does not progress significantly within that time frame, you will not need to purchase new hearing aids. However, if your hearing gets worse within six years after getting a hearing aid, you may need to speak with your audiologist about getting a new one that meets your progressive needs. Even so, new technology is released frequently. Even though your hearing aids are working appropriately, you may want to discuss new technology with your Audiologist.
Will I Ever Completely Lose All of My Hearing?
In most scenarios, hearing loss due to aging will not cause you to lose your sense of hearing completely. If you have a comorbid condition such as diabetes or an autoimmune disease, your progressive hearing loss may be accelerated, and you may eventually lose your hearing completely. However, this situation is rare and depends upon the severity of your health conditions.
Will I Need New Hearing Aids as My Hearing Loss Gets Worse or Progresses?
Hearing loss can progress. so your hearing aids will need to be programmed regularly as your hearing changes. Your audiologist will need to do regular testing to track your hearing loss and ensure that you have the right hearing aids.
It is also important to remember that the shape of your outer ear and ear canal can change as a person ages. Having hearing aids that fit properly is imperative. Still, in some cases, your audiologist can make minor adjustments to the piece that fits inside your ear canal to adjust the fit without replacing the hearing aid.
Are There Other Treatments for Hearing Loss?
Medication is not effective for sensorineural hearing loss. In rare cases, conductive hearing loss can be treated by removing the object that is obstructing the ear canal. Please consult with your medical physician. Regardless of which type of hearing loss you have, hearing aids will likely be your best option for improving your quality of life.
How Do I Choose the Right Hearing Aids?
There are many types and brands of hearing aids, so it can be difficult to choose the right ones. It is important to work with an audiologist to determine which brand will be most effective for your hearing loss progression. Your audiologist will carefully tune the hearing aids so that you can hear soft sounds clearly again. You will need to have your hearing aids checked regularly to make sure they are still working properly. Your audiologist will also make sure that the hearing aids fit into your ears properly. When the lifespan of your hearing aids is over, your doctor will retest you to determine how much the hearing loss has progressed and fit you for a new set.
Need Help With Your Hearing Loss Journey? Talk to Oliveira Audiology & Hearing Center!
If you’re dealing with hearing loss in Laredo, Texas, the Oliveira Audiology and Hearing Center is here to help. We want to fit you for hearing aids that will improve your quality of life so that progressive hearing loss never slows you down. Our practice is located on McPherson Road near Country Club Drive, so we are in a convenient spot to help you with all of your hearing needs. The faster you seek treatment, the better your quality of life will be. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your hearing loss.
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