Silver Pages 2021 | Page 9

If I have a hearing problem who do I need to see ?

The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss , which originates in the inner ear and / or auditory nerve and is generally caused by damage to the inner ear hair cells . Because these hair cells do not repair themselves and cannot be medically treated once damaged it is not necessary to see ENT . Sensorineural hearing loss is the most prevalent form of permanent hearing loss and patients who have this type of hearing loss can do very well with hearing aids . You can start the process by seeing an audiologist . If they discover there is a medical issue causing your hearing problems they will refer you to an ENT .

What should I take in consideration when deciding to go to for hearing help ?

Audiologists are the only professionals who are university trained and licensed to specifically identify , evaluate , diagnose and treat hearing disorders . Audiologists are required to obtain a doctorate degree , pass a national exam and do a one-year externship under a licensed audiologist before they can become licensed to practice . You should also take into account the number of years they have been practicing . Today ’ s hearing aids are very sophisticated and require a lot of training to program them so the patient receives maximum benefit .

If I have a friend / loved one who has a hearing problem how do I convince them to get their hearing tested ?

Most people with hearing loss typically deny some or all of their hearing problems . Most hearing loss occurs gradually over time and can me more noticeable to other people then the person with the hearing problem . The most important thing is to try not to get mad , or pester your loved one : trying to force them will only make them dig in their heels . Remember , hearing loss can be an embarrassing reality for some who associate hearing loss with “ growing old .” Try to remind your loved one of the things he or she is missing out on and would love to hear again . Gentle encouragement could one day get your loved ones to seek the hearing care that they need .

How will untreated hearing loss impact overall health ?

Multiple studies indicate hearing loss can be linked to the onset of dementia and Alzheimer ’ s disease . Leaving hearing loss untreated could pose a serious risk that has not been widely shared with the hearing- impaired population . Providing this information will encourage patients and their loved ones to make more informed and timely decisions about their hearing care . Frank R . Lin , MD , Ph . D conducted a study commonly cited by medical professionals on the topic of hearing loss and cognitive decline . The study observed 1,984 adults with a mean age of 77.4 years over the course of six years , tracking the progression of their hearing loss in relation to their cognitive function . Dr . Lin concluded that while further research was needed to identify the mechanics of how and why hearing loss and cognitive decline are related , there is little doubt that hearing loss is a factor in loss of mental acuity in older adults . The study also indicated that the more severe the hearing loss , the greater the likelihood of developing a cognitive disorder , and the steeper the decline in mental function . However , even subjects with mild hearing loss were found more likely to experience cognitive failures .

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