Ear Nose Throat and Allergy
Hearing is determined by the audiogram. Various tones are presented to each ear, and you will indicate whether each tone is heard or not. Each ear is tested independently at various tones. The degree of hearing is calculated in decibels (dB) of hearing loss. Normal hearing is at least 20 dB or better. A mild loss is 20-40 dB, moderate loss is 40-60 dB, and severe loss is 60-80 dB. Profound loss, or near deafness, is 80 dB and beyond. Hearing loss may be divided into two types: conductive and sensorineural.
A conductive hearing loss is due to abnormalities of the ear canal, eardrum, or middle ear structures, which block the conduction of sound into the inner ear. Therefore, wax in the ear, a hole in the eardrum, or fluid behind the eardrum may cause conductive hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss is usually treatable and may resolve completely.
In contrast, sensorineural hearing loss, or nerve hearing loss, is due to problems with the inner ear or with the nerve connecting the inner ear to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss may not be correctable, and is often permanent. It worsens with age, and is common in the elderly. However, sensorineural hearing loss can be associated with birth trauma, neurologic disease, trauma to the head, as well as certain medications and toxins. Sensorineural hearing loss is treated with hearing aids.
If sensorineural hearing loss is present, then hearing aids will be advocated. It is important to understand that hearing aids do not “give you your hearing back”. They merely amplify external sounds to help boost the hearing that still remains.
Abrupt changes in hearing are considered medical emergencies. If hearing suddenly changes, you should be seen within twenty-four hours in the ENT clinic. If acute or sudden hearing loss does occur, this will be confirmed by a hearing test. You will be placed on steroids and possibly an MRI will be performed.
We are committed to providing the highest quality otolaryngology and audiology care available anywhere. Please call us at (916) 984-1234, fill out the form on the Contact Us page, or request an appointment