Hearing Loss Treatments
There are a number of different causes of hearing loss and therefore there are a number of different ways that hearing loss can be addressed and treated. Whatever is causing the hearing loss though usually if there is anything that can be done a visit to a doctor has to be your first step.
What to Expect from Your Doctor
The first thing a doctor will do if you go to them with concerns about your hearing will be to take a medical history, asking questions about things that may have affected your hearing. They will then usually perform a brief physical exam of your exams using an otoscope, lighted tool. Sometimes the cause of hearing loss can be discovered right there if there is some obvious obstruction such as a build up of earwax, an object obstructing the ear canal or a visible ear injury or infection.
Depending upon the suspected cause of the you may also be sent for a diagnostic imaging test like a CT scan or brain cell response testing if the damage is thought to be nerve related.
Treatment for temporary or reversible hearing loss comes in several different forms and can include:
- Treatment for an ear infection: Although many minor ear infections will clear up on their own a doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics to lessen the length of the infection and prevent hearing loss.
- Removal of an ear blockage: If the problem is a build up of earwax in the ear a patient will be shown how to safely remove earwax. If a foreign object is the problem then a minor surgical procedure may be required to remove it. The same is true for an injury to the ear.
- Damage caused by certain medications – especially excessive amounts of aspirin or ibuprofen – can often be reversed once a patient stops taking the medications.
Some forms of hearing loss are not reversible – this includes noise related hearing loss – and have to be addressed in a different way:
- Hearing aids – A standard hearing aid makes sound frequencies louder. They do not improve your hearing but when used they can and do make hearing easier, especially in social situations. These days many of these hearing aids are very small and barely detectable to anyone else so the “stigma” of having to wear one is reduced.
- A surgical implant such as a cochlear implant. These implants are reserved for people with certain forms of severe or total hearing loss. This is a procedure that may be suitable for people of all ages but it is usually at its most successful when the patient is a child or teenager.
- Computer aided assisted listening devices.