Have you had trouble hearing lately? Understanding the cause of your hearing loss can help you ensure that you receive appropriate treatment. Otolaryngologists, Dr. Barry Ellis and Dr. Brian Moffitt, at Mount Airy ENT Head & Neck Audiology in Mount Airy, NC, diagnose and treat hearing loss and other ear, nose and throat conditions.
What causes hearing loss?
Age-related hearing loss is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. It occurs when tiny hair cells in your inner ear become damaged and die. If you have this type of hearing loss, you may find it difficult to follow conversations, either in-person or on the phone. It may seem as if all of your friends and family members have suddenly begun to mumble, which can be very frustrating. Hearing loss can also be caused by:
- Loud Noises: Exposure to loud noises, especially if the exposure is prolonged, can also damage the hair cells in your ear. Attending loud concerts or working in a noisy environment without wearing ear protection can increase your risk of noise-induced hearing loss.
- Earwax Buildup: In some cases, your hearing may diminish simply because there's too much wax in your ears. Your ear, nose, and throat doctor can remove the wax in his Mount Airy office. You may notice that your ear hurts or rings if your hearing loss is due to wax buildup.
- Meniere's Disease: The inner ear disorder causes progressive hearing loss and balance problems. In addition to hearing loss, symptoms may also include vertigo, nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, and a feeling of fullness in the ears.
- Fluid in the Ears: Your hearing may be temporarily affected if you've developed fluid in your ears. The condition can occur if you have an ear infection.
- Acoustic Neuroma: Hearing loss and balance problems may also happen if you have an acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor on the nerves essential for hearing.
- Otosclerosis: Otosclerosis occurs when abnormal bone growth prevents the stapes bone in the middle ear from moving freely. Symptoms include hearing loss, which often begins with difficult hearing low sounds or whispering, balance problems, dizziness, and ringing or buzzing in the ears.
What treatments are available for hearing loss?
Your treatment will depend on the cause of your hearing loss. Treating an ear infection can reduce fluid in the ears, while surgery may be needed if you have otosclerosis or an acoustic neuroma. If your hearing loss is permanent, your ENT may recommend a hearing aid. The device not only amplifies sound but also helps you filter out background noise that can make hearing clearly difficult.
Are you concerned about a change in your hearing? Call Mount Airy, NC, otolaryngologists Dr. Barry Ellis and Dr. Brian Moffitt of Mount Airy ENT Head & Neck Audiology at (336) 673-3125 to schedule an appointment.