If you don’t know much about hearing loss, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to recognize a potential problem in your auditory system without understanding the basics of hearing health. Hearing loss is often overlooked despite being recognized as a major medical concern amongst healthcare professionals, researchers and industry regulators.
West Coast Hearing Clinic’s expert audiology team understands that patient education is the best way to raise hearing healthcare awareness in our coastal Washington community. We would love to discuss hearing loss, hearing services and treatment options with you further when you visit one of our clinics in Aberdeen or Willapa Harbor Hospital in South Bend.
Take a look through these hearing loss FAQs to find answers to some of our patients’ most commonly asked questions.
How do I know if I’m experiencing hearing loss?
Since hearing loss usually comes on very gradually, identifying a problem is a lot harder than it seems. Some signs to watch out for include turning up the volume on the TV or radio, asking people to repeat what they said often, tuning out in noisy environments and struggling to understand women and children. Regular hearing exams are the best way to keep up with your hearing health. Experts recommend hearing assessments every three to five years for anyone under 50 and annually or biennially for those over 50.
What causes hearing loss?
The most common causes of hearing loss are aging and exposure to loud noise. Less common causes include ear injuries, head or neck trauma, genetic defects, ear infections, ototoxic medications and certain conditions and diseases.
Can loud sounds really damage my hearing?
In a word: yes! Sound is measured in decibels (dB), with 70 dB considered the baseline. Volume increases two-fold per every 10 dB over the baseline. This means 80 dB sound is twice as loud as 70, 90 dB is four times as loud, 100 dB is eight times as loud and so on.
Any noise over 85 decibels is considered dangerous and potentially damaging, but your ears are probably exposed to noise at this volume daily. Garbage disposals, blenders, car washes, semi-trucks and motorcycles are examples of common items that produce sound at or over 80–90 dB. While is takes 85 dB noise about eight hours to cause permanent hearing damage, this time is cut in half for every 5 dB increase in volume. This means sound at 110 dB (live rock music, for example) can damage your ears in just 15 minutes.
How is hearing loss treated?
Hearing aids are by far the most common treatment for hearing loss. While they can’t cure the condition, today’s devices closely mimic the sound clarity and quality of our natural hearing. In some cases, hearing loss can be treated with medication or surgery. Profound impairments can be treated with cochlear implants if hearing aids don’t prove effective.
What’s next after a hearing loss diagnosis?
If you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss, it’s time to sit down with your Aberdeen audiologist to discuss your treatment options. In most cases, this will include selecting a pair of hearing aids, receiving counseling, going through the fitting and programming process and scheduling regular check-up and maintenance appointments.
What hearing loss services do audiologists provide?
When it comes to your hearing health, it’s vital to seek expert care. A knowledgeable audiologist offers many services including hearing assessments, diagnostic services, counseling, treatment plans, hearing aid fittings, pediatric hearing care and more.