Considering that more than 57 million people in the U.S. suffer from some type of hearing loss, it isn’t uncommon. However, figuring out when you do need a hearing aid is never a simple process. Some people lose their hearing abilities so slowly that they can adapt quite easily to the world around them without incident. In fact, when many people actually insert hearing aids into their ears, the noise is often too loud for them to handle because it has been slowly dulling over time. How do you know when you need a hearing aid?
Step One: Test for Hearing Abilities
Your first move is to visit an audiologist (a hearing disorder specialist) or an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist). These professionals will perform an exam on your ears and then give you a test for hearing capability. The results of the test determine how well you can hear and whether you need hearing aids. There are three types of hearing loss that could occur in your ears:
- Conductive hearing loss, which affects the outer or middle ear and prevents sound from reaching the inner ear. This can cause distortion of sound and is often caused by various physical anomalies or issues.
- Sensorineural hearing loss, which results from damage to the nerves of the inner ear. This is typically caused by age, injury, or illness that affects the nerves within the ear. It is also the most common type of hearing loss.
- Mixed hearing loss, which is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss, and generally is not a common issue among those who lose their hearing to any degree. However, it is still a type of loss that can occur.
If your test for hearing proves that you have hearing loss that cannot be repaired or restored, your doctor might recommend a hearing aid that will help you get your hearing back. This depends on your specific situation, but it is generally an option for anyone who has no way to restore their hearing permanently.