Diagnosis, Treatment and Support: What To Do About Hearing Loss

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Hearing loss is one of the most common conditions affecting older adults. One in three seniors experiences some form of hearing loss, and that rate increases as people age.

Age-related hearing loss can be very gradual. The slow pace of change can make it difficult to notice these changes in ourselves, though even gradual hearing loss can ultimately have a major impact on your quality of life.

If you suspect that you’re experiencing hearing loss, you should know what comes next, including getting a diagnosis, treatment options, and getting support from friends and family.

Getting a Diagnosis for Hearing Loss

An audiology exam is the best way to check to see if you have hearing loss. At an audiology clinic like Toronto Hearing Consultants, this is a comprehensive test with several parts:

  • Otoscopy includes an examination of the ear canal for infections, abnormalities, and ear wax. If the problem is as simple as ear wax buildup, this is where an audiologist will catch it.
  • Tympanometry tests the middle ear using a low-pitched sound and examining the ear drum’s response. The low-pitched sound changes the air pressure in the ear canal, and the ear drum’s movement is recorded.
  • Air conduction thresholds determine the softest sound level that a patient can hear.
  • Bone conduction thresholds use a metal headband with a bone oscillator which is placed on the patient’s head. This test bypasses the middle and outer ear so that the inner ears response can be recorded when beeps at different pitches are played.
  • Speech testing determines how much a patient struggles to hear in loud environments, such as a restaurant or a party as well as the ability to discriminate words

The results of these tests are all recorded in an audiogram that informs your treatment options.

Hearing Aids and Treatments

In some cases, hearing loss can be caused by something as simple as earwax buildup. When this is the case, getting the earwax removed is fairly simple.

However, you may also be diagnosed with permanent hearing loss. In this case, a hearing aid is the best treatment available. An audiologist can help you with a hearing aid fitting, part of which involves programming the hearing aid to fit your needs.

Hearing aids today come in a number of styles. You can get very sleek, discreet hearing aids that are almost completely invisible.

A hearing aid can improve your overall communication, even in louder environments. If you’re experiencing stress or anxiety about your hearing, a hearing aid can help.

Managing Hearing Loss and Support

If you are diagnosed with hearing loss, it can also help to talk to friends and family for support and accommodation. There are also some steps you can take to make it easier in social settings to hear better. These include:

  • Positioning yourself to face the person you’re speaking to.
  • Turning off background noise.
  • Choosing quieter environments for socializing.
  • Using listening aids for media like T.V.

If you find yourself struggling to hear, getting a diagnosis is the first step. Treatment such as a hearing aid can make you feel much more comfortable in social settings and help you adapt to hearing loss.

Article edited and fact checked by our editorial team.


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  2. Mulrow CD, Tuley MR, Aguilar C. Sustained benefits of hearing aids. J Speech Hear Res. 1992 Dec;35(6):1402-5. doi: 10.1044/jshr.3506.1402. PMID: 1494282.