Hearing loss is more common than you may think. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), about 48 million people in the United States have some level of hearing loss. Statistics also show that the average American waits seven years before seeking treatment, and only one in five people who could benefit from a hearing aid actually use it.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to manage the symptoms and live life to the fullest if you have hearing problems. Here are some tips to consider for hearing loss treatment.
How is hearing loss diagnosed?
The first step in seeking treatment for hearing loss is to confirm the condition. You can speak to a medical professional if you’ve noticed trouble hearing or try some at-home tests first while you wait to see your doctor. But remember, you should always get an official diagnosis to understand what is causing your hearing loss and get the best treatment.
Here are some ways to evaluate your hearing loss:
- Doctor exam – You should always see your doctor if you’re experiencing hearing trouble. A medical professional can examine your ears to see what is causing the hearing loss, such as excessive earwax, structural damage, or a possible infection.
- Mobile app testing – While you wait to see your doctor or an audiologist, app-based hearing tests are available to download on tablets or smartphones. You can do these tests in the privacy of your own home. However, the results have limited accuracy.
- Audiologist – An audiologist will conduct the most in-depth testing to get accurate levels of hearing loss in each ear and the type of hearing problem you may be experiencing. An audiology expert has the tools and skills to diagnose the issue and offer professional solutions to help with your hearing loss.
Does loss of hearing affect memory?
Several studies on hearing loss and the brain have confirmed a link between the loss of hearing and memory loss, dementia, and other brain functions. According to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, hearing loss forces other areas of the brain to work harder to compensate. Memory systems are often affected first.
Also, types of hearing loss can lead to people being less social or avoiding conversation with others. Because social stimulation is a crucial component of brain function and health, hearing loss can affect memory by forcing someone to be less active and socially engaged.
Can hearing loss cause brain fog?
For the same reasons that people with hearing loss often experience memory issues, loss of hearing can affect cognitive ability as well. In fact, a 2020 commission report in the Lancet included hearing loss as a significant risk factor for developing dementia.
While brain fog can be caused by a variety of things, it is often one of the first warning signs of dementia or other cognitive conditions that can affect mental processes.
Does being deaf in one ear affect your brain?
Deafness in one ear can also cause the brain to work overtime to process what you hear. This affects your brain by making it harder to focus, multi-task, or perceive where a sound is coming from, according to Healthy Hearing on single-sided deafness.
5 Hearing Loss Treatment Tips
While it can be alarming and frustrating to deal with hearing loss, help is available. Depending on the cause and degree of hearing loss, here are some tips to try.
- Don’t Wait to Seek a Diagnosis and Treatment
Many people wait to see a professional when they realize they’re losing their hearing. However, in almost every case, hearing loss is not something that will go away on its own. It can even cause issues related to memory and brain function if you let it go too long.
You don’t have to suffer in silence. There is now sophisticated testing, cutting-edge technology, and effective hearing loss solutions that can improve your quality of life. Seek help from a hearing expert, such as Harbor Audiology & Hearing Services Inc., to take the first step towards finding a solution for your hearing loss.
- Remove Earwax Blockage
Excessive earwax can actually cause hearing loss without treatment. Make an appointment with your doctor to see if a wax blockage is the culprit of your hearing issues. Using special tools or suction, they can ear wax removal in Christchurch. Your hearing could improve almost immediately if blocked earwax was the reason for the issue.
- Consider Surgical Solutions
After an evaluation by an audiologist, you may find that your type of hearing loss can be treated with surgery. Some situations include:
- Middle ear surgery for eardrum abnormalities
- Stapedectomy for otosclerosis
- Pressure equalization (PE) tube surgery for fluid buildup
- Bone conduction implant surgery
If there is a surgical option to repair the damage that is causing your hearing issues, it is often the best solution for your hearing loss and definitely worth considering.
- Look into Hearing Aids
Hearing aids have come a long way from your grandparents’ generation. They are now more discreet and effective than ever by using advanced technology to improve a patient’s ability to hear. They also have the functionality to address a person’s unique hearing needs rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
Hearing aids may be the perfect solution for your hearing problem, so it’s worth talking to your healthcare professional about this option.
- Ask Your Doctor About Cochlear Implants
For people with more severe levels of hearing loss who have not experienced significant results with a hearing aid, a cochlear implant may be a good option. What is a cochlear implant? It is a device that is surgically implanted in the ear to bypass the damage that’s causing hearing loss. It stimulates the hearing nerve directly, helping a patient’s hearing function to improve.
Seeking Hearing Loss Treatment to Prevent Brain Function Loss
The best thing you can do to prevent memory loss and brain function as a result of hearing loss is to speak with an audiologist about your issue as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more chance of developing brain-related effects that can impact your quality of life. Contact a hearing professional to schedule an evaluation.