Expert Answers from Hearing Healthcare Providers

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What is sensorineural hearing loss?

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Alexandra Tarvin, AuD
Sensorineural hearing loss is a reduced sensitivity to sound from damage, malfunction, or malformation in the sensory and/or neural auditory pathways. This can occur within the cochlea (organ of hearing) from damaged stereocilia, hair cell bodies, nerve connections, or the 8th cranial nerve itself. It is not necessarily nerve damage itself but this could... Read more

What hearing aids are easiest to use for an elderly person?

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Alicia D.D. Spoor, AuD
Purchasing hearing aids for a person of any age or lifestyle requires a significant amount of consideration.  The "best" or "easist" or "most durable" hearing aid depends on the person's hearing acuity, communication needs, lifestyle, dexterity, vision, cognition, and preferences.  Many patients, of all ages, like the option of rechargeable batteries for... Read more

Is nerve damage to the ear due to loud noise reversible?

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Matthew Pearson
Yes and no! If you are exposed to excessive levels of noise ie a concert you may get a temporary threshold shift ie your hearing ability will reduce temporarily however continued exposure can lead to a permanent reduction in hearing ability. Custom hearing protection if exposed to noise regularly is a must. You have been warned!

What iPhone apps are good for people with hearing loss? What are you recommending to your patients?

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Chelsea Walters, BS, BC-HIS
Alicia hit the nail on the head when she said the best App and Hearing Device recommendations are dependent upon each person's communication needs and challenges.  Hearing aid technology that is integrated with iPhones continues to evolve since it's dawn 2 years ago. At this stage in the game, it can be broken down into Apps that require an intermediary... Read more

What can be done to help nerve deafness?

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Teresa Burns, AuD
"Nerve Deafness" is a term which people sometimes use to refer to sensorineural hearing loss, or hearing loss due to damage to the cochlea (inner ear) or the nerve connecting the cochlea to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and can be caused by aging, exposure to loud noise, genetic conditions, ototoxic medication, illnesses and other... Read more

What are the symptoms of hearing loss?

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Julie Norin, AuD
Hearing loss is often progressive, so the symptoms may be difficult to notice until the hearing loss starts to have a true impact on ability to communicate. The most common reported symptoms is difficulty hearing or understanding womens or children's voices, or the perception that people are mumbling. This is because a typical age-related hearing loss... Read more

I have had ringing in my right ear for about 2 weeks. My ear feels plugged up with partial hearing and no pain. What should I do?

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Abram Bailey, AuD
I don't typically answer these questions, but my personal opinion is to seek medical attention immediately. Your symptoms may be caused by something as simple as an earwax blockage, which can be easily remedied by your local doctor. However, the worst case scenario is that you're suffering from a case of sudden sensorineural hearing loss, which is... Read more

Does barometric pressure affect hearing?

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Natalie Phillips, AuD
You may experience some brief hearing loss and pressure in the ear with the change in atmospheric pressure, however, hearing may be affected permanently if there was damage to the ear due to barometric pressure changes. Cilck here is some further information.

Can hearing aids cause further hearing loss?

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Rivka Strom, AuD
As long as a real ear measure (REM) test is performed in the office during the hearing aid fitting, you will be fine. During the REM, the output of the hearing aid is measured in your ear to ensure appropriate gain for you to hear well and to ensure that the sounds you are hearing will not get too loud and case further hearing loss. Further, I would like... Read more

I am 62 and new to hearing aids. My test shows loss in mid-range freq. I have to turn the TV up and lose words in conversations, etc. I want the best hardware - small, light-weight. Which will work better for me Signia primax 7px or Oticon Opn?

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Lisa Goldstein, MA
Siemens and Oticon are both excellent manufacturers, researching and developing the best in hearing aid technology. I have worked with both the Primax 7 and the new Oticon Opn with success. It's always nice to work with an audiologist that will let you try both instruments however, it also depends on your needs. If you want the latest in direct... Read more