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How to Determine If You Need Hearing Aids

How to Determine If You Need Hearing Aids

Hearing loss is often thought of as strictly a problem associated with age. But the truth is that hearing loss can happen to people at any age, and for any number of reasons. We sat down with Dr. Kelli Loveland, Audiologist at Ogden Clinic, to find out what causes hearing loss and how it can be prevented.

Q: What causes hearing loss?

A: Hearing loss can affect three different areas inside the ear and there are various causes for this. Hearing loss can be caused by loud noise exposure (recreational or occupational), aging inside the inner ear, ear wax, ear infections, diseases, or heredity. Some types of hearing loss can be treated and reversed while others cause a more permanent loss that is treated with a hearing aid(s).

Q: What are some signs that people can look for that might signify that they are losing their hearing?

A: Common complaints include feeling like people’s voices are muffled or unclear, having to ask for repetitions, difficulties hearing in the presence of background noise, turning up the TV volume, and avoiding social situations. Due to the general aging process of the inner ear, most people lose their hearing in such a gradual manner that they don’t necessarily know what they are missing until a hearing aid trial allows them to hear everything again.

Q: At what age can folks expect to start losing their hearing?

A: It is important to know that hearing loss does not simply affect the older population like many assume. People can lose their hearing suddenly or gradually and this can occur at any age. In younger children, it can be common to have ear infections which have the potential to cause a hearing loss that can ultimately impact the child’s abilities to hear and produce speech. Because of this, it is crucial that they undergo treatment options to avoid speech delays or more permanent hearing loss.

Q: What are some natural measures people can take to prevent hearing loss?

A: I recommend everyone protect their hearing when around loud noise whether that be when mowing the lawn, shooting guns, using power tools/equipment, or when at concerts. Hearing protection can be as simple as wearing over-the-ear muffs or it can be discrete by having custom hearing protection made by your audiologist.

Q: What should people do if they suspect that they are losing their hearing?

A: It is very important to be proactive about your hearing health as it is a treatable condition that is most successful when started early. If you begin noticing any decreased hearing abilities, contact an audiologist to have your hearing tested right away.

Q: What is involved in a traditional hearing test?

A: A hearing test is a relatively quick procedure that takes about 15-20 minutes. A visual inspection of your ear will be performed initially. You will then enter a sound-treated room where you will wear earphones and press a button whenever you hear beeps in your ears. The results and recommendations will be provided for you immediately after completing the hearing test.

Q: Are there alternative solutions to hearing aids?

A: Treatment options will be dependent upon the age at which you develop the hearing loss, the type of loss, and your daily lifestyle needs. If hearing aids are not the best solution for you, your audiologist will talk with you about options that will be most suitable for you.

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Kelli Loveland, AuD

Dr. Kelli Loveland practices at Mountain West ENT Bountiful | Ogden Clinic. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Loveland, please click here or call 801-397-6268.