There is a wide range in degrees of hearing loss, ranging from mild to profound. For those with severe hearing loss, they may find it challenging to hear conversational speech, making communicating difficult. If left untreated, this degree of hearing loss can lead to isolation, depression and even cognitive decline.
Below are the four steps to treating severe hearing loss.
Get a Hearing Test
Knowing the exact type and degree of hearing loss is crucial for your audiologist to put together a treatment plan.
After they review your medical history and perform a physical exam, your audiologist will conduct a series of hearing tests. This may include:
- Pure tone testing
- Bone conduction testing
- Speech testing
- Acoustic reflex testing
- Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs)
Understand Your Treatment Options
After the results are in, your audiologist can begin putting together a treatment plan. Some of the most popular options for someone with severe hearing loss are:
These electronic devices amplify sounds as they enter your ear to a level you can hear. There are a number of styles and manufactures to choose from. Based on your listening lifestyle, aesthetic preferences and budget, you and your audiologist will work together to figure out the right model for you.
Instead of amplifying sounds as they enter the ear, this surgically implanted electronic device is able to bypass the ear and stimulate the auditory nerve directly.
This method of treatment is only recommended for those who see no benefit from a traditional hearing aid.
Middle Ear Implants
This option is ideal for those who don’t benefit from hearing aids but whose hearing loss is not severe enough to warrant a cochlear implant.
Sounds are picked up by an external microphone and converted into electronic signals. This signal travels to an implant attached to the bone of the middle ear. The implant is able to enhance the sound vibrations, which are then sent to the inner ear and onto the brain.
Auditory Brain Stem Implants
Similar to cochlear implants, this implant is placed directly on the brain.
Currently, this treatment is only used in a small group of patients who have a damaged or missing cochlear nerve.
Learn How to Use Your Device
Whatever device you end up with, understanding how to use it is critical to success. While there is some getting used to, as many with severe hearing loss have been missing out on many sounds for a while, your audiologist is here to help.
They will show you how to use, troubleshoot and clean the device.
Utilize Assistive Devices
In addition to your hearing aid (or implant), assistive listening devices can provide an additional level of care. Remotes allow you to program your device without removing it from your ear while microphones allow you to amplify the voice of a conversation partner without distracting background noise.
Treating your hearing loss is not an overnight process, but the audiologists at Waco Earn, Nose & Throat will be there with you every step of the way. Contact us today to learn more.