Hearing loss affects 48 million Americans. Children may experience loss due to genetics or ear infections. Age-related hearing loss is common, affecting more than 30 percent of adults by age 65. Audiologists in Lancaster, PA can evaluate the cause and degree of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is caused by blockage in the outer ear, damage to the middle ear, or problems in the inner ear. Outer ear blockage may be a result of ear wax building up within the ear canal. It is treated by removing the ear wax. The middle ear consists of the ear drum and three tiny bones. The ear drum is a flexible piece of tissue that moves with sound waves. It can be damaged from placing things in the ear or from ear infections. Extra fluid in the middle ear will limit the ear drum’s ability to move. Frequent ear infections and burst ear drums may result thickened tissue on the ear drum. When sound vibrations go down the ear canal, the thickened scar tissue on the ear drum does not move as well as an unblemished ear drum. The inner ear has the cochlea, an organ that allows people to hear, and the hearing nerve. Damage to the inner ear can be due to heredity, age, illness, or exposure to loud noises. Treatment may include amplification through a hearing aid or a cochlear implant in more severe cases.
Regardless of the cause, hearing loss has similar symptoms. Sudden changes in the ability to hear may be obvious. During an ear infection or after the ear drum has ruptured, sounds may seem muddled or dampened. Young children who are not meeting language milestones should have their hearing screened. Other hearing changes may occur gradually over time. Does it sound like children or women (who have higher pitched voices) are murmuring? Are they difficult to understand, particularly if you cannot see their face? The reason may be due to one’s own hearing loss. Difficulty understanding conversations, particularly when the speaker’s face is not visible or when there is background noise, may indicate a hearing loss.
Audiologists in Lancaster, PA can determine which part of the ear is resulting in hearing loss and the specific degree of loss at each pitch. After a hearing evaluation, an audiologist can advise a client about the best treatment, which may include medication, surgery, or amplification of sound through a hearing aid. For more information go to .