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What Should I do if I Start to Have Hearing Problems?

Article Details
  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 December 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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If you start to experience hearing problems, your first stop should be your family doctor. These problems can stem from a variety of issues, and visiting your family doctor has two purposes. The first is to rule out some common issues that may cause hearing loss. If your problems are not easily resolved, a family doctor can refer you to an audiologist.

Age-related hearing problems are very common. The inner ear is home to many small hairs. These hairs are responsible for shuttling sound waves into the ear and translating it into noise, and are easily damaged and bent by exposure to loud noises.

The damage to the hairs is permanent. Over time, as more of these hairs are damaged, you can begin to lose your hearing. By the age of 75, three quarters of people experience some level of hearing loss. Damage from loud noise is the most common cause of hearing loss, and needs to be treated by an audiologist.

An audiologist can treat hearing loss with hearing aids. Hearing aids work by amplifying sounds and channeling them into your ear canal. The amplified noise sounds different than you are accustomed to, so it is important to have an audiologist who is willing to help you make the transition to hearing aids. There are different styles of hearing aids available, and an experienced audiologist can help you find the one that will work best.

Not all hearing problems are the result of damage to the ear. Another common cause of hearing loss is excessive wax buildup in the ear. Normally, the body produces wax as a protective and cleansing agent for the ears. Sometimes the body produces too much, which remains in the ear canal, blocking the progress of sound waves into the ear.

Your general practitioner can diagnose and treat excessive wax buildup in a simple office procedure. He will soften the wax with a few drops of mineral oil or glycerin. Once the wax loosens, the doctor can remove the excess wax through suction, removing with a small curette or rinsing with warm water.

Hearing problems can also be the result of a cold or sinus problem. The sinus cavities in the head are extremely narrow. Cold and sinus problems can lead to excess fluid in these cavities, where it can form blockages. If the blockages develop in the inner ear area, hearing problems may result. While this is normally a temporary problem, if the blockage escalates into an ear infection, long-term hearing problems can occur.

Any time that you develop hearing problems, a trip to your general practice physician is the logical first step. Hearing problems are often the result of temporary and highly treatable conditions. If the problem is permanent hearing loss, your general practice doctor can refer you to an audiologist. An audiologist is specially trained to treat hearing loss and fit patients for hearing aids.

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