Industry-Leading Care at Hearing Centers in TX & Beyond

The Causes, Symptoms, & Management of Impaired Hearing

Being around loud noises, the buildup of earwax, and a ruptured eardrum are other common causes of hearing loss. At Connect Hearing, we’re committed to enhancing your hearing health care by providing expert advice, diagnosing hearing loss, and consulting on the latest technology in hearing aids. Our nationwide network spans across Texas, Georgia, Florida, California, Colorado, and other convenient locations. While impaired hearing usually can’t be reversed, there are ways to improve what you hear and alleviate the discomfort associated with hearing loss. Contact the hearing professionals at Connect Hearing today to learn more and take the first step toward better hearing.

Common Causes of Hearing Loss

To understand how someone experiences hearing loss, it can be helpful to understand how it works. Sound waves pass through the outer part of your ear, causing the eardrum to vibrate. The eardrum and three tiny bones in the middle ear make the vibrations bigger as they travel to the inner part of the ear. The vibrations then pass through fluid in a part of the inner ear called the cochlea. Thousands of tiny hairs turn sound vibrations into electrical signals, which are attached to nerve cells in the cochlea. These electrical signals are then transmitted to the brain, which the brain turns into sound. Some of the most common causes of permanent and temporary hearing loss include:

  • Damage to the Inner Ear – Over time, aging and loud noises can damage the nerve cells or hairs in the cochlea that signals the brain to produce sounds. When these nerve cells or hairs are damaged, they don’t send electrical signals well.
  • Buildup of Earwax – Earwax that has built up too much over time can block the ear canal, preventing sound waves from passing through. The safe removal of earwax removal can help restore hearing.
  • Ear Infection, Unusual Bone Growths, or Tumors – Any of these issues can cause hearing loss in the outer or middle ear.
  • Ruptured Eardrum – Sudden changes in pressure, loud blasts of noise, infection, or poking the eardrum with an object can cause the eardrum to burst.

Common Symptoms of Hearing Loss

You might not realize how much hearing loss you experience if you're used to the symptoms. Some common symptoms of hearing loss can include:
  • Speech and other sounds are muffled. 
  • You have trouble understanding words, especially in a noisy environment.
  • You can’t hear the letters of the alphabet that aren't vowels.
  • You find yourself asking others to repeat themselves or speak more loudly.
  • You always need to turn up the volume of the television or radio.
  • You stay clear of certain social settings.
  • You’re bothered by background noise.
  • You have ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus.

Types of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss occurs when any part of auditory system or ear isn't working properly. The types of hearing loss include the following:
  • Conductive – Involves the outer or middle ear
  • Sensorineural – Involves the inner ear
  • Mixed – The combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss
  • Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder – Occurs when sound isn't arranged in a way that the brain can understand

Risk Factors for Hearing Loss

Factors that damage the nerve cells in the inner ear include:
  • The natural aging process (the inner ear breaks down over time)
  • Being around loud sounds, such as firearms or heavy machinery
  • Some hereditary genes may make people more likely to have ear damage from sound or aging
  • Jobs where loud noise is constant, such as construction, farming, or factory work
  • Exposure to activities such as snowmobiling, motorcycling, carpentry, or loud live music
  • Some prescription and over-the-counter medications can damage the inner ear, causing temporary hearing loss
  • Certain illnesses that cause a high fever can harm the cochlea and cause hearing loss

Diagnosing Hearing Loss

When you experience hearing loss, you want to find a solution that alleviates the discomfort and frustration of the condition. Diagnosing your hearing loss is the first step in the right direction. Some standard tests that are used to diagnose hearing loss include:
  • An audiometer test performed by an audiologist or hearing care professional
  • Using an app-based hearing test on your phone or tablet to screen yourself for hearing loss
  • Tuning fork tests to help find hearing loss or show where the ear damage is
  • A physical exam to check for possible causes of your hearing loss, such as the buildup of earwax or an infection

Preventing Hearing Loss

There are several ways you can prevent hearing loss from occurring in the first place. The following can help prevent hearing loss caused by loud noises and keep it from getting worse as you age:
Protect Your Ears
If your job is noisy, plastic earplugs or glycerin-filled earmuffs can provide protection for your hearing. Staying away from loud noise altogether is the best protection.
Schedule Regular Hearing Tests
If you’re exposed to loud noise frequently, scheduling regular hearing tests can help prevent further loss by understanding your current hearing health.
Avoid Risk Factors
You can prevent damage to your hearing over time by wearing proper protection while riding motorcycles, hunting, using power tools, or listening to live music. Turning down the volume while listening to music can also help.

Hearing Loss Treatment & Management

A lot of help is available to alleviate the discomfort or frustration of hearing loss. Some options for hearing loss include the following:
  • Removing Earwax – If an earwax blockage is causing your hearing loss, your healthcare provider might be able to remove it using a suction or a small tool with a loop on the end.
  • Surgery – Some types of hearing loss can be treated with surgery. For repeated ear infections that cause fluid to build up, a healthcare provider might insert tubes to help your ears drain. 
  • Hearing Aids – Hearing aids can be helpful for hearing loss that’s caused by damage to the inner ear. An audiologist or other hearing care professional can discuss your options with you and fit you for a custom hearing aid.
  • Cochlear Implants – Cochlear implants are best for patients who need something that works better than a hearing aid.

Contact Us for Help With Your Hearing Loss Today

With a commitment to providing industry-leading hearing health care across our nationwide network, Connect Hearing has what it takes to get you on the right track toward a more fulfilling life. Our hearing centers are throughout Texas, Florida, California, Colorado, and other convenient locations throughout the United States. Our hearing care professionals and audiologists are passionate about helping you hear better by applying a consistent approach to determine the best recommendations for your health. Contact us today to learn more, or book an appointment online to take the first step towards an enhanced life with a free hearing evaluation.