This week, March 1st through 7th, is Hearing Awareness Week, a terrific time to highlight the importance of auditory care. Although there have been hearing healers/doctors since antiquity, this awareness week is a recent idea, started in Australia, where over one-fifth of the population has mild-to-severe hearing difficulty.
We have similar struggles in the U.S., where Americans struggle with hearing issues, owing to a variety of circumstances. Hearing disability is sometimes congenital, but also happens when we expose ourselves to loud working environments, fail to address ear infections, or use headphones/earbuds too long. Our society is also getting older, which is the most common contributor of them all.
So, in commemoration of Hearing Awareness Week, let’s review some of the common hearing problems, along with the prospects for treating them.
Mild Hearing Loss
When you get a hearing examination, you’ll find out whether you’re experiencing any degree of hearing loss. The tests allow us to identify which decibel levels you can/cannot hear. Mild hearing loss ranges from 26 to 41 decibels. Depending on the cause, we might treat it by clearing out ear wax blockage, fitting you for hearing aids, or other techniques. It’s prudent to detect hearing problems at this stage before they become much worse.
Severe Hearing Loss
Once a patient can no longer hear anything less than 71 decibels, they’ve reached severe hearing loss. This is the point where individuals cannot hear others speaking to them. Profound hearing loss, the inability to hear at 81 decibels, is just shy of total deafness, and certainly requires the help of hearing aids and other interventions.
Tinnitus can either correspond with hearing loss (about 90% of the time), or manifest as a problem on its own. The excruciating experience of ringing, buzzing, or whooshing sounds in one or both ears is one of the most difficult conditions, according to many patients. It’s even believed that the famous painter, Vincent Van Gogh, may have severed his own ear (evident in this famous self-portrait) because of unbearable tinnitus.
Fortunately, although there are dozens of potential causes for tinnitus, it is possible to address it if you seek help; the sooner the better. With the guidance of a reputable auditory specialist, there are ways to mitigate the ringing noises with soothing sounds to make things much more bearable.
Do you know anybody who struggles with any of these common auditory problems?
One way to exercise Hearing Awareness Week would be to encourage them to get a diagnostic hearing exam or share some of this information with them. Like any other serious medical condition, early intervention makes a world of difference.
You can learn much more about your hearing and address serious conditions by visiting one of our experienced audiologists at Coastal Hearing Care. We serve patients in Bradenton, Sarasota, and surrounding communities with all the latest treatment options. Contact us anytime to learn more by calling us at 941-229-2122 or filling out the form below.