Hearing loss happens for many reasons. First, genetic conditions or birth defects may cause hearing loss. Likewise, babies can pick up in utero infections from the mother. Examples include rubella and herpes. Conductive hearing loss occurs because of a structural ear problem. Sound waves must travel through the various parts of the ear in order to reach the brain. Any blockage keeps the waves from getting through. The brain must receive sound in order to interpret what is heard. Examples of structural problems include a hole in the ear drum or excessive ear wax. Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent. The loss is attributed to nerve endings that do not function. Causes include age, tumors, and infections.
Ear, Nose and Throat doctors, known as ENT’s, can repair many hearing-related problems. In the alternative, there are many devices that allow one to hear. The doctor starts with audiometric hearing testing in Lancaster, PA. The testing is usually done in one ear at a time. Sometimes, patients wear headphones and the technician plays a variety of sounds. The sounds vary from very low to very high in pitch. The patient raises their hand when they hear the sound. The test results tell doctors a couple of things. They know how much hearing loss there is and what type.
A doctor may recommend surgery after audiometric hearing testing in Lancaster, PA. Many obstructions can be repaired. Likewise, there is a device that can be implanted to allow one to hear. The device, the cochlear implant, bypasses structural defects and sends sound waves to the brain. Each patient is evaluated to see if they are good candidates for the implant. The Phonak CROS II is a new device for those with one-sided hearing. Amazingly, the wireless technology picks up sounds from the non-hearing ear and transmits them to a device on the other ear. Interestingly, there is a hearing aide that is so small no one can see it. The Lyric device tucks inside the ear and can be worn in the shower. Best of all, it can be worn for several months at a time. If you have a hearing problem, call Lancaster ENT for a consultation.