Hearing Loss Treatment

Boise, Idaho

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Hearing loss treatment in boise by Boise ENT

Hearing loss has a lot of different causes and manifestations. It can be sudden or gradual. It can occur in one ear or both ears. It can be temporary or permanent. It happens to people of all ages and is associated with the aging process. Before discussing causes and treatments for hearing loss, it is important to understand how hearing works.

Causes of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss occurs when sound is blocked in any of the three areas of the ear. The most common cause of hearing loss — and one of the most preventable — is exposure to loud noises. Infections, both of the ear or elsewhere in the body, are also a major contributor to hearing loss.

  • In the Outer Ear: Earwax build-up, infections that cause swelling, a growth in the ear canal, injury, or congenital disabilities can restrict hearing in the outer ear.
  • In the Middle Ear: Fluid build-up is responsible for the most common infections and blockages in the middle ear. Fluid in the middle ear prevents the bones from processing sounds properly. Tumors, both benign and malignant, can also result in hearing loss in the middle ear.
  • In the Inner Ear: The natural process of aging diminishes hearing from damage to the cochlea (mechanism for converting sound vibrations to brain signals), vestibular labyrinth (which regulates balance), or the acoustic nerve (a nerve that sends sound signals to the brain). Additionally, inner ear infections, Meniere's disease, and other nerve-related problems contribute to hearing loss in the inner ear.

Other Causes of Hearing Loss Include:

  • Presbycusis: Age-related hearing loss, such as having difficulty hearing in noisy places, understanding what people are saying or not registering softer sounds.
  • Heredity and Genetic Causes: There is a wide variety of diseases and syndromes that are either genetic or hereditary that can cause hearing loss. Some, like rubella (German measles) occur when a pregnant mother has the disease, which causes hearing loss in the baby. Other rarer types of hereditary and genetic causes include CHARGE Syndrome, Connexin 26 disorder, Goldenhar Syndrome, Treacher Collins Syndrome, Usher Syndrome, Waardenburg Syndrome, and otosclerosis (growth of spongy bone tissue in the middle ear).

Most causes of outer ear hearing loss can be remedied. But problems of the middle and inner ear can lead to permanent hearing loss, which is why it is important to seek medical attention quickly if you are experiencing a problem hearing.

There have also been confirmed connections between hearing loss and alzheimer's disease. Researchers suggest that the two disorders might share a common pathology.

types of hearing loss | hearing loss treatment in Boise

Types of Hearing Loss

There are four types of hearing loss:

  • Conductive hearing loss: Caused by conditions that block the transmission of sound through the outer ear and eardrum to the middle ear.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Inner ear damage that occurs as part of the natural process of aging.
  • Mixed hearing loss: Mixed hearing loss refers to people who have both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. Most people experience more than one type of hearing loss.
  • Central hearing loss: This occurs when the central nervous system fails to send a readable signal to the brain, which is called a central auditory processing disorder. People with central hearing loss generally can hear all sounds but can't separate or process them.

Hearing loss is measured in four degrees: mild, moderate, severe, or profound. The degree of hearing loss drives the selection of the best form of treatment on a case-by-case basis.

Hearing Loss Treatments

The location, type, and degree of hearing loss impact the choice of treatments for any hearing problem. The most common treatment options include:

  • Antibiotics, decongestants and pain medication to overcome ear infections.
  • Myringotomy, a piercing of the eardrum to allow for fluids to drain out of the outer ear.
  • Insertion of a tube into the Eustachian tube (part of the anatomy that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat) to keep it open and allow for normal fluid drainage. This technique may be recommended for people who get frequent ear infections.
  • Hearing aids.
  • Surgery to remove benign or malignant tumors or correct bone- or nerve-related problems.

If you experience a sudden or prolonged hearing loss with dizziness, fever, or pain, please contact our office right away and schedule an appointment with one of our otolaryngologists. We'll conduct a physical examination as well as a hearing test to determine the type and severity of your hearing loss. We'll then recommend the best treatment.

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Boise ENT

West Boise Professional Center

8854 W Emerald St
Suite 150
Boise, ID 83704
Office: 208-229-2368
Fax: 888-815-1651