Hearing loss is a common problem caused by aging, disease/trauma, long-term exposure to excessive loud noises, and heredity. Hearing involves the ear’s ability to identify sounds and the brain’s ability to understand those sounds, including the sounds of speech.
The most common type of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). NIHL occurs gradually and without pain. Some of the early warning signs include:
- Difficulty hearing conversations, especially in the presence of background noise
- Asking to repeat conversations
- Misunderstanding what has been said
- Difficulty hearing telephone conversations
- Increasing the volume on the television or radio
- Feeling that people are mumbling when they are talking
- Difficulty hearing certain sounds or pitches
- Straining to hear or keep up with a conversation
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Withdrawing from interactions
- Not participating in activities such as going to the movies or group gatherings because of the extra effort you need to make to follow what is being said
Assessment of Hearing Loss
An audiological (hearing) evaluation will help determine the cause of hearing loss. The purpose of a hearing evaluation is to determine the degree and type of hearing loss. It consists of multiple tests with several different components, each providing specific diagnostic information.
Common Audiological Assessment Procedures:
- Diagnostic Hearing Evaluations
- Tinnitus Assessment and Treatment
- Assessment for Hearing Aid
- Tympanometry and Reflex Threshold
- Central Auditory Function Evaluation
- Pure-tone Audiometry
- Speech Audiometry with Speech Recognition
- Acoustic Immittance Testing
- Comprehensive Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)
This is not a comprehensive list of procedures. Your audiologist will determine tests needed to determine your hearing health needs.
Early detection of hearing loss in newborns allows for early intervention which is important in the development of speech recognition. Our audiologists test for hearing impairment in infants and toddlers, preschoolers and school-age children. Children are referred if a parent, caregiver, or healthcare provider has concerns regarding hearing, speech, language, or developmental delay based on observation and/or standardized developmental screening.
Our audiologists work in conjunction with the referring pediatrician or Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Pediatric Assessment Techniques
- Behavioral Observation Audiometry (BOA)
- Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA)
- Conditioned Play Audiometry (CPA)
- Acoustic Immittance Audiometry
– Acoustic Reflex
– Static Acoustic Impedance
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)
Treatment for Hearing Loss
The most common treatment for hearing loss is amplification with hearing aids. Today’s digital hearing aids are smaller and contain technology to alleviate problems faced in difficult listening situations, such as background noise. Hearing aids today also are better at identifying and eliminating feedback. Anyone, who has a mild hearing loss or greater, could potentially benefit from a hearing aid.
For those with hearing loss in both ears, two hearing aids are usually recommended. Benefits include the ability to localize sounds, distinguish one sound from another, understand speech in background noise, etc.
The Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center’s licensed clinical audiologists treat adults and children who are experiencing hearing loss and may require hearing aids.