All About Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is the third most common physical condition after arthritis and heart disease, which means it can affect many people in many ways. At Chicago Hearing Associates, we want all our patients to be informed about possible symptoms of hearing loss, types of hearing loss and treatment options.

Fast Facts:

  • More than 48 million Americans (20% of the population) have some degree of hearing loss.
  • Harmfully loud noise exposure and the aging process are the most common causes of adult hearing loss.
  • 1 out of 3 people over the age of 65 have hearing loss.
  • 3 out of every 1,000 children in the US are born with a detectable hearing loss in one or both ears.
  • The auditory system and the vestibular (balance) system are located in the same bony structure of the temporal bone.  Both systems work together, which means people can sometimes have correlated hearing and balance issues.
  • Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, affects between 10-15% of the population.
  • Hearing loss can be a sudden or gradual decrease. Depending on the cause, it can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

How Do I Know If I Have Hearing Loss?

  • When you are in a group or in a crowded restaurant, is it difficult for you to follow the conversation?
  • Does it sound like people mumble?
  • Do you often need to turn up the volume of your TV?
  • Is talking on the phone difficult?
  • Has someone close to you mentioned you might have a problem with your hearing?
  • Do you ask people to repeat themselves?
  • Are you hypersensitive to loud sounds?
  • Do you have ringing or buzzing in the ear?
  • Do you have a loss of clarity of speech perception?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, we recommend you call us at 773.296.5500 to schedule an appointment for a hearing tested.

 Types of Hearing Loss

  • Conductive hearing loss (CHL) – when hearing loss is due to problems with the ear canal, ear drum, or middle ear and its little bones (the malleus, incus, and stapes).
  • Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) – when hearing loss is due to problems of the inner ear, also known as nerve-related hearing loss.
  • Mixed hearing loss – refers to a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. This means that there may be damage in the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve.
  • Hearing loss can affect people of all ages — varying from mild to profound.

References: Basic facts about hearing loss (2016). In Hearing Loss Association of America. Retrieved from http://hearingloss.org/content/basic-facts-about-hearing-loss.<Dec21,2016>