Hearing inevitably changes with age as structures inside the ear change and hair cells that transmit sound vibrations begin to die. All people experience a decline in their ability to hear higher frequencies, a change that begins in early adulthood. However, not everyone is doomed to significant hearing loss. An ear, nose, and throat doctor, or ENT, can provide hearing care service in Lancaster, PA that will help patients protect and preserve their hearing for as long as possible.
One aspect of hearing care is getting a hearing exam. A hearing test is likely to be preceded by a visual examination of the ear with an otoscope, an instrument that lets the doctor see the ear canal and ear drum. A visual examination can reveal problems like a bulging or perforated ear drum, excessive ear wax, or fluid in the ear canal. Once those problems are ruled out, an audiologist will perform a hearing test using pure tone audiometry. This test for adults involves listening to tones at different pitches and volumes through headphones. Infants and very small children are tested with an otoacoustic emission test, which measures cochlear emissions that occur when sound is transmitted into the ear.
Another aspect of hearing care is prevention. An ENT may recommend products designed to protect the ears from loud noises like motorcycle engines, music at a live show, or factory machines. Exposure to loud noise is the most common cause of a hearing loss in younger people. Ears should also be protected from water, which can cause infections. Chronic ear infections can also cause premature hearing loss.
Once a hearing loss has been diagnosed, an ENT can help the patient improve his or her hearing through hearing aids or surgical solutions. Hearing aid technology has advanced significantly in recent years and, today, it’s possible to use a hearing aid that is completely invisible to others. Another recent innovation is the ability to stream phone calls, music, and TV shows directly to the hearing aid through a remote control device operated by a smart phone. For more information about hearing care service in Lancaster, PA, visit Lancaster ENT.