Hearing loss can range from mild, where you may have difficulty hearing faint or distant speech, to profound, where you cannot hear loud speech or sounds. Regardless of your degree of hearing loss, seeking treatment is of the upmost importance.
Below is the four-step process of how profound hearing loss is treated.
While untreated profound hearing loss is quite obvious to your audiologist before they administer a single test, the exact degree of your hearing loss is vital information.
Your doctor will review your family history and complete a physical exam. This is to rule out any medical conditions that could be contributing to your hearing loss, such as infections or tumors.
You will then undergo a series of audiological tests, including:
- Pure tone testing
- Bone conduction testing
- Speech testing
- Acoustic reflex testing
- Auditory brainstem response
- Otoacoustic emissions
Hearing Treatment Options
Once the results of your hearing tests are back and confirm your exact degree of loss, your audiologist will review your treatment options.
This is the most common treatment for hearing loss. The device either sits inside or behind the ear, picking up external sounds and amplifying them to a level you can hear.
There are a number of hearing aid styles and manufacturers, providing you a lot of options. Your listening lifestyle, aesthetic preferences and budget are all important factors that will go into the decision of which device is best for you.
Instead of amplifying sounds, a cochlear implant bypasses your inner ear and directly stimulates the auditory nerve, which sends electric signals on to the brain to be processed. While safe, an implant does require surgery.
Cochlear implants are recommended for those who see no benefit from hearing aids.
Middle Ear Implants
An external microphone picks up sounds and converts them into electrical signals, which are transported to an implant attached to the small bones of the middle ear. The implant sends the electrical sound information via vibration to the inner.
Middle ear implants are for individuals who see no benefit from hearing aids but do not have severe enough hearing loss to warrant a cochlear implant.
Auditory Brain Stem Implants
This type of implant is placed directly on the brain, bypassing the ear entirely. Currently, this treatment option is only being used in a small group of patients who have a missing or nonfunctioning cochlear nerve.
Hearing Device Education
Once your treatment option has been selected, it is time to learn everything you can about it. This is important as you don’t want to come down to CENTA Medical Group every time you need to switch programs or connect an assistive listening device via Bluetooth.
Your audiologist will explain everything and provide you with resources to use at home. They are also always available by phone if you need any assistance.
Hearing Loss Management
While your device of choice provides a great benefit, assistive listening devices can help bring your hearing to the next level. Alerting devices use a flashing light to signal sounds like a doorbell or a smoke alarm. Personal microphones allow you to amplify the voice of your conversation partner while blocking out background noise.
Understanding the process of treating your hearing loss is important and can help give you the push you needed to finally seek treatment. Contact the experts at CENTA Medical Group today to get started.