Jane and Paula are sought after experts. You can follow them in the Health Talk Column of the News Herald and on their blog. You can send questions by clicking here and read the answers in the paper and on line.
Hearing Aids are not a replacement for our ears. In support of our patients, their families and our community, we offer several programs.
Learning to Lip Read
Learning to Lip Read provides training in lip reading and communication strategies including: communication breakdowns, lip reading basics, body language and repairing communication.
New Hearing Aid Technology Seminar
Become an informed consumer. Learn about successful hearing aid technologies before you invest time and resources. Jane and Paula provide information on hearing aid technologies, styles and features.
Maximize your listening abilities and keep your brain sharp! The program can improve hearing in noise, fast talkers and auditory memory.
Understanding hearing loss starts with understanding how the ear works. Here you will learn about the parts of the ear and how sound is sent from the outer ear to the inner ear.
There are three parts to the ear, outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. The outer ear consists of the pinna (the part of the ear we can see on the side of the head) and the ear canal. The main job of the outer ear is to collect sound waves and send them down the ear canal to the eardrum.
The middle ear includes the eardrum and three small bones. The middle ear amplifies the sound waves and sends them to the inner ear.
The inner ear is located in a snail shaped bone deep inside your head. The hearing nerves called haircells are located here. These fine nerve fibers change sound into electrical impulses and sends them to the brain.
Types of Hearing Loss
There are three types of hearing loss. They are conductive, sensory and neural. One can also have a combination of these, called mixed hearing loss.
Conductive Hearing Loss (CHL)
CHL results from problems in the outer and middle ear. CHL makes sounds appear softer then they really are. It is similar to turning the volume down on a TV or radio. CHL is often the result of a medical condition. There are several disorders that can cause CHL:
- Ear wax build up
- Perforated eardrum
- Fluid behind the eardrum
- Problems with the bones in the middle ear
Often these types of problems can be resolved. Once resolved, hearing returns to normal. It is uncommon for an outer or middle ear conditions to result in permanent hearing loss.
Sensory Hearing Loss (SHL)
More than 90 % of all hearing loss is sensory. Sensory hearing loss is caused by damage to the fine hearing nerves call haircells. We have hundreds of thousands of haircells located deep in the inner ear. Once damaged, they cannot be repaired. As more and more of the haircells are damaged, hearing loss increases. People with sensory loss report voices sound soft and/or muffled. Sensory hearing loss is almost always permanent.
Causes of sensory loss:
- Exposure to loud sounds (this is preventable)
- Diseases such as Meniere’s Disease
- Genetics (it can run in families)
- Heart Disease
- Certain medications including some chemotherapy drugs
Hearing aids are the first step to successfully treating sensorineural hearing loss. Hearing aids can restore normal volume and improve word understanding.
Neural Hearing Loss (NHL)
NHL results when there is a problem with the auditory nerve that runs from the ear to the brain. Various disorders can cause problems with this nerve. Typically signs of a NHL present on a hearing evaluation. All of the conditions resulting in NHL require examination by a physician.
Auditory Processing Disorders (APD)
APD is a disorder in how the brain recognizes and organizes speech. APD becomes apparent in challenging listening situations (noisy places, when the speaker is at a distance or when other distractions present). This little known learning disorder occurs in 5% of children with normal hearing. Problems related to APD become more and more apparent as school work increases in difficulty.
Signs and symptoms
- Difficulty hearing in noisy places
- Difficulty academically
- Appears to have difficulty hearing
- Trouble following multiple step instructions
- Does better with written material than auditory
- Performs better one-on-one