Have you found yourself turning up the volume more frequently than before when watching television or listening to music? Or maybe you have found it difficult to concentrate in loud and busy environments when you haven’t in the past. It’s worth looking into these symptoms as soon as you experience them.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself to find out if your hearing is still in tip-top shape.
1. Are you experiencing vertigo or loss of balance?
Your ears are for more than just hearing. They also help you find and maintain balance. The inner ear turns sound waves into electrical impulses transmitted to your brain. It also contains the vestibular organ responsible for the balance. Excessive exposure to loud noises can damage the fine hairs in the inner ear, resulting in sudden bouts of vertigo or loss of balance.
2. Are you having a difficult time conversing in loud environments?
Hearing loss is more common in adults 65 years and older. However, it can still affect younger adults and children based on hereditary factors and continued exposure to loud noises. Hearing loss depends on the degree of damage to the ears. Sudden or gradual hearing loss can occur from one ear or both. Damaged hair cells in the inner ear contribute to hearing loss. In addition, excessive ear wax in the ear canal reduces your ears’ capability to detect sounds. If that happens, it’s best to get a hearing loss specialist’s diagnosis to receive tailored treatment suited to your individual needs.
3. Do you have a recurring ear infection?
Ear infections are troublesome, especially recurring ones. A middle ear infection (otitis media) is inflammation of the tissue located behind your eardrum. While middle ear infections are common for children below three years old, they can still happen in adults.
Respiratory infections and seasonal allergies cause most adult cases of ear infections. However, it is a cause for concern when the ear infection isn’t relieved within 48–72 hours. You might also experience the symptoms of an ear infection as a result of built-up earwax. It is best to contact your healthcare provider to receive an assessment and avoid long-term problems.
4. Do you hear a buzzing or ringing in your ears even without an external source of the sound?
This condition is more common than you think. Hearing a ringing or other noises in one or both ears affects 15%–20% of people, especially older adults. This condition is called tinnitus, and it is caused by age-related hearing issues, an ear infection, or cardiovascular problems. The phantom noises range from buzzing and humming sounds to hissing and roaring. If this condition disrupts your daily life, seek professional help to alleviate discomfort.
Hearing Treatment Options
Different treatments for ear and hearing-related health concerns are specialized to target specific disorders. Early diagnosis can often mitigate the chances of worsening conditions. Usually, a physician’s diagnosis will determine the treatment you need. They may first use an otoscope — a light scope that helps visualize and examine your eardrum. Afterward, the nature and number of administered tests will depend on the physician’s initial diagnosis.
Treatments regarding ear and balance problems start with hearing and balance tests. Your physician will evaluate how these symptoms contribute to which type and degree of hearing loss. Some tests for checking hearing and balance issues are:
- Audiometric Testing with Pulsed or Warbled Tones This test identifies hearing loss in different frequencies. It measures at which level the patient can hear certain words and sounds.
- Bone Conduction Audiometry This hearing test measures the patient’s inner ear to determine if they are experiencing an inner ear or cochlear problem.
- Speech Testing This hearing test identifies which sounds the patient can hear as words.
Ear infection treatment typically involves the insertion of ear tubes and balloon dilation of eustachian tubes. This procedure alleviates the pressure in the eardrum and helps drain fluid from the ear. On the other hand, tinnitus treatment involves noise suppression treatments, such as hearing aids, white noise machines, and prescribed medication.
ENT in Georgetown, TX
Hearing loss and other hearing-related concerns can be challenging to tackle, but they are easier to mitigate when caught early. Georgetown ENT, located in central Texas near Austin, provides a variety of specialized treatments for ear and hearing problems for patients living in Williamson County, including in Georgetown, Round Rock, Leander, and Cedar Park. We offer treatments regarding hearing and balance problems, recurring ear infections, hearing loss, tinnitus, as well as hearing aids and protection.
Established in 2002, Georgetown ENT offers adult and pediatric ear, nose, and throat care backed by comprehensive testing and state-of-the-art surgical treatments designed for your comfort and relief. For an ear doctor in Georgetown, look no further than board-certified ENT surgeon Dr. Scott. As an expert in his field, he can skillfully diagnose and treat you. You can expect a transparent discussion about his evaluation and your treatment options.