If you ever have an issue with your hearing or with your ears in general,
4 FAQs for Your Audiologist
Are you planning a visit to your audiologist in the near future? If so, you’re in luck. In this post, we run through four of the most common frequently asked questions during your audiology appointments.
What caused my hearing loss?
Understanding what caused your hearing loss in the first place is essential for preventing it from getting worse, so many patients begin their session by asking this question.
The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural which involves degradation of the tissue of the ear responsible for processing sounds. Aging – something that you can’t help – is the leading cause. But the other major contributing factor is exposure to excessively loud noises, such as sirens or music played at high volume. Hearing loss can also relate to medications you’re taking or certain diseases that you might have had in the past.
Occasionally, when the problem is compacted earwax, hearing loss is reversible. The audiologist simply removes it with a solution or specialist tools, allowing soundwaves to travel down the ear canal to the drum without any obstructions.
What can I do to improve the hearing I still have?
Audiologists have several ways they can improve the hearing that you still have. The first, and most obvious, is to remove impacted earwax. However, more commonly they will recommend that you wear hearing aids.
Modern hearing aids are advanced pieces of equipment that audiologists tailor to your specific hearing loss. So, for example, they can fit hearing aids that help with listening to conversations in loud rooms or birdsong in the morning.
Audiologists can also offer other types of treatment to improve your hearing, including cochlear implants. These devices turn sound energy into electrical impulses the auditory centers of the brain can interpret.
Can lifestyle affect my hearing loss?
Audiologists will also consult with you about your lifestyle and how it may affect your hearing loss going forward. From research, scientists know that lifestyle can affect the workings of the ears both positively and negatively.
Eating healthy food, taking exercise and drinking coffee can all potentially enhance the functioning of the ear. Drinking, smoking, stress and exposure to loud sounds have the opposite effect, damaging the ears over time and putting you at higher risk of associated conditions, such as tinnitus.
What can I do to protect my hearing in the future?
If you’re worried about further hearing loss in the future, you can talk to your audiologist about ways to prevent it.
Here are some of the things that they are likely to say during the consultation:
- Avoid loud noises whenever possible: Don’t listen to music above 85dB through headphones. If you are struggling to blot out background noise, use noise-cancelling headphones instead.
- Wear hearing protection in loud environments: So, for instance, if you go to a rock concert, protect your ears by wearing earbuds with a high noise reduction rating (NRR) of 20-33.
- Be careful at work: Make sure that you wear earmuffs if you’re operating loud equipment, even if the noise level feels comfortable.