Why should you see an ENT

An Ear, Nose and Throat doctor can diagnose the cause of your hearing loss. Many hearing losses can be corrected medically or surgically. Some hearing losses are indicative of serious underlying medical problems. It is, therefore, crucial to obtain an accurate diagnosis. If you have ear pain, drainage, excess earwax, hearing loss in only one ear, sudden or rapidly progressive hearing loss, or dizziness, it is especially important that you see an otolaryngologist. After a history of your hearing loss is taken and an examination of the ear, nose and throat area is performed a hearing assessment from our audiologist (a nonphysician health care professional) is obtained. Valley ENT is fortunate to have all hearing tests performed or supervised by a doctoral level audiologist. The results of these tests will show the degree of hearing loss and whether it is conductive or sensorineural and may give other medical information about your ears and your health.

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Conductive Hearing Loss

A hearing loss is conductive when there is a problem with the ear canal, the eardrum and/or the three bones connected to the eardrum. Common reasons for this type of hearing loss are a plug of excess wax in the ear canal or fluid behind the eardrum. Medical treatment or surgery may be available for these and more complex forms of conductive hearing loss.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

A hearing loss is sensorineural when it results from damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve, often as a result of the aging process and/or noise exposure. Sounds may be unclear and/or too soft. Sensitivity to loud sounds may occur. Medical or surgical intervention cannot correct most sensorineural hearing losses. However, hearing aids may help you reclaim some sounds that you are missing as a result of nerve deafness.

Degrees of Hearing Loss: Are You 1 out of 10?

It is estimated that one of every seven people does not have full hearing—and one of out every ten hears so poorly that a hearing instrument would help. Hearing professionals use several terms to describe the degree of hearing loss:

  • Mild hearing loss: unable to hear soft sounds, difficulty understanding speech clearly in noisy environments.
  • Moderate hearing loss: unable to hear soft and moderately loud sounds, considerable difficulty understanding speech, particularly with background noise.
  • Severe hearing loss: some loud sounds are audible but communication without a hearing instrument is impossible.
  • Profound hearing loss: some extremely loud sounds are audible but communication without a hearing instrument is impossible.

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