Hearing Loss - When to see the ENT?

Hearing Loss - When to see the ENT?

When to see the ENT about Hearing Loss?

By: Ben Oberman, MD

I’ve asked my wife if she can hear me just as often as she asks if I’m listening to her. I know we’re not the only ones that struggle with this phenomenon.  Rather than repeating yourself 1,000 times, is this something that your doctor should look at?

Who is affected?
An estimated 5-10 million American adults are at risk for hearing loss simply due to noise exposure in their workplace. In children, hearing loss occurs in 5-10 per 1,000 children in the United States that may affect language development if not properly evaluated and treated.  The number of teens, aged 12-19, with hearing loss has been on the rise in recent decades as well.

Signs of Hearing Loss

Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham Hearing Loss ConcernsWhen should I suspect someone has hearing loss?
We all know someone affected by hearing loss.  But what’s more troubling is the person with hearing loss isn’t the only one affected.  Family and friends are troubled as well, often expressing frustration when communicating with a loved one.  For the person with hearing loss, this can lead to depression, isolation, and some studies suggest a potential link to increased rates of dementia.  A child with hearing loss may seem “quiet or shy,” hesitate to join social clubs or activities, or have poor school performance.

What are some other symptoms?
Many people who have hearing loss notice difficulty understanding others in crowded places such as restaurants, places of worship, and markets or malls.  Hearing loss may affect one or both ears.  Sometimes people have trouble talking on the phone or increase the volume on their television.  Your friends and neighbors may comment that you’re speaking loudly or shouting.  You could notice more of a muffled hearing sensation, like you’re underwater. Or start to have ringing, buzzing, or humming noises that you didn’t notice before.

When can this happen?
Hearing loss can occur at any age, but more commonly it affects older individuals.  Some hearing loss is considered age-related, but your doctor would need to perform a simple hearing test to let you know more.  If you suddenly lose hearing in one or both ears, you should get your hearing checked promptly. Always see your Otolaryngologist  (ENT Doctor) if you have a concern about sudden changes in hearing. Call 919-595-200 to schedule an appointment with one our ENTs.

 

Hearing Loss - What Can be Done?

What can I do about my hearing?
If you have questions or are concerned about your hearing, you can always get it checked. If you’re around loud noises at work, talk to your manager about noise control or hearing protection.  Use hearing protection when you’re mowing the lawn, around power tools, or shooting firearms.  Talk to your doctor, they may have tips too.

Dr. Oberman sees patients in our North Durham office, located at 4102 N. Roxboro Street, Durham, NC 27704, our South Durham office, located at 5726 Fayetteville Road, Suite 102, Durham, NC 27713 and our Chapel Hill office, located at 55 Vilcom Center Drive, Suite 140 Boyd Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Call 919-595-2000 to schedule an appointment today.

Sources:
Emedicine noise induced hearing loss: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/857813-overview
Emedicine hearing impairment (Peds): https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/994159-overview#a6
Bailey’s Head and Neck Surgery, Otolaryngology, 5th edition Chapter 157: Noise induced hearing loss, author Robert Dobie

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