Experiencing a change to your hearing can be an unsettling or painful thing, and it often is your best indicator of a potential hearing problem. Some hearing conditions are temporary or reversible, while others may be caused by permanent damage, but all hearing issues are easier to treat the sooner you seek help for them. Here are some of the most common hearing problems and what they may indicate.
You Have Trouble Following A Conversation
If voices in a conversation sound muffled and hard to locate, this is one of the signs you are being affected by gradual hearing loss. Difficulty in being able to parse speech and trouble spatially locating sounds within noisy environments are two indicators of a serious hearing issue. Gradual hearing loss worsens as we age: permanent hearing damage accumulates throughout our life while our auditory system naturally becomes more delicate as we age. This accrual of hearing damage can have multiple contributing factors. Loud noises can damage the hair cells of the inner ear, as can circulatory problems. When hair cells are harmed, they cannot regenerate themselves and we lose a portion of our hearing as the cell dies. Over time, if more and more hair cells are placed out of commission, significant permanent hearing loss is acquired. This sort of hearing loss is the most common form of hearing impairment.
If damage to the inner ear has been incurred, gradual hearing loss is permanent and can’t be cured. It can, however, be effectively treated with the use of hearing aids. Modern hearing aids have revolutionized living with a hearing disability their powerful and customizable sound processing capacity is matched with discreet and nearly invisible design.
You Suddenly Lose Hearing
Sudden hearing loss can come from a variety of sources, most often it is due to inflammation or fluid brought on by an infection. If you notice a sudden loss of hearing, even if it is only in a single ear, it is important to seek treatment quickly. A rapid response with steroid treatments can help prevent permanent inner ear damage while proper diagnosis can help isolate the cause of the sudden change. Some medications, including aspirin have the potential to interact with your hearing. Another potential cause of immediate hearing trouble is a tumor near the auditory system. A hearing specialist will be able to help determine the best course of action in cases of sudden hearing loss, potentially preventing permanent hearing damage from occurring.
Your Ears Feel Full
When hearing trouble is accompanied by a “stuffy” feeling in your ears, it can be a sign of an actual build up or blockage in your auditory system. An excess of earwax or wax that has become impacted in the ear canal can provoke this feeling. Usually, with the removal of the earwax blockage, hearing is restored. Allergies and infections can also provoke a muffling in your ears. Water left in the ear canal can become stagnant and breed bacteria causing a painful “swimmer’s ear” infection. Other infections can result in mucus and inflammation congesting the canal between the throat and middle ear. Most infection and allergy related hearing issues will recede as the illness subsides.
You Get Dizzy Or Nauseous
In rare cases, a hearing problem may come and go, and bring with it uncomfortable and disorienting balance issues. Fluctuating hearing loss accompanied by a dizziness, queasiness or off–balance feeling could indicate you have Ménière's disease. Ménière's disease is caused by chemical changes to the fluid in your inner ear. When the composition of the fluid is off, it impacts how both your hearing and balance work. The imbalance symptoms of Ménière's disease can be debilitating and there is no known cure for the illness, though there are courses of treatment that can minimize the duration and severity of Ménière's, including a low-salt diet. Dizziness and nausea can be symptoms of other health conditions, so if you think you may be dealing with Ménière's disease it is important to seek a medical diagnosis.
If you experience any of these hearing problems or other auditory changes, your first step is to get a hearing exam with a specialist. At Hearing Spa of Florida, our team is focused on providing you with the best in hearing health care and connecting you with the best solutions for your hearing needs.