Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is something that millions of Americans experience in various degrees of severity. There are three different categories for loss of hearing: conductive, sensorineural, and mixed. Only an appointment with a licensed physician or audiologist can determine the type and severity of your hearing loss by way of a hearing test.
Conductive hearing loss is characterized by an issue, typically a blockage, in the outer ear or middle ear that prevents sound vibrations from entering the inner ear. Earwax, fluid build-up, or even ear infections, are all causes of conductive hearing impairment.
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear. This can occur naturally with age or with extended exposure to noisy environments. High levels of noise can injure the hair cells in the inner ear, leading to this type of hearing loss.
Mixed hearing loss is exactly what the term suggests: a mixture of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. Something is preventing all sound vibrations from entering the inner ear and not being processed properly when they do.
Assistive Hearing Devices
In cases of profound hearing loss, using a hearing device such as a hearing aid might be your best option. The technology used in hearing aid devices has been improving dramatically over the years, making the amplification stronger and the device more discrete. Hearing Health USA has hearing specialists that can help patients take control of their hearing loss. They will match you with a highly skilled licensed physician that will administer your hearing test. Based on the results of the medical evaluation, they will determine the severity and type of hearing loss you’re experiencing. These factors, along with your lifestyle, are taken into consideration by their audiologists, who can then recommend the specific type of hearing aid or hearing device that best suits you.
Some of the top hearing aid manufacturers today are Starkey, Signia, Resound, Phonak, and Lyric. Each hearing aid built by these manufacturers has special features and variations in strength. A prospective user should consult with a professional audiologist in order to find the best hearing aid that have the right specialty for their situation. A prospective hearing aid user with severe hearing loss that is often in noisy environments will need a different type and style of an assistive listening device than a user with only moderate hearing loss who lives a quiet lifestyle. Audiologists can make adjustments as necessary and determine which hearing aid has the specialty required for the situation.
Hearing aid styles differ in their levels of discretion. This way you can choose a style that fits your preferences, and even have the hearing aid custom-made. An In-The-Ear (ITE) hearing aid is considered the biggest of all the in-ear styles. Completely-In-Canal (CIC) style hearing aids are more easily hidden inside the ear canal because of their size, but they still come with many special features. Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aids sit right behind the ear and they have a tube or wire that feeds into the ear canal. Some mini BTE models come with wireless technology and can connect to your mobile device for remote control. Furthermore, the Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) hearing aids have the most inconspicuous design because they are so small. This style of hearing aid is also a receiver with tubing that feeds into the inner ear, but the receiver itself sits inside the ear canal instead of on the outer ear.
Dealing with Big Life Changes
When you experience the deterioration of your own hearing, it can be a difficult process to cope with, regardless of what stage of life you’re in. A hearing impairment can have a tremendous effect on our ability to communicate. But regardless of whether it’s difficulty communicating with family members or even trouble hearing your own voice, frustrations with hearing impairments and the life transition that follows can lead to other mental health and relationship issues.
Dealing with severe hearing loss when you live in a noisy environment is especially stressful and can be more taxing on your mental health. If you live in a crowded area like New York City, even moderate hearing loss can be a big adjustment for anyone. The best way to deal with these life transitions and adjustments is to speak with a psychotherapist or psychiatrist— depending on your specific needs. If you’re searching for NYC therapists, you want to make sure you find the right therapist with the skills and empathy to help you work through your struggles.
In the time of COVID-19, dealing with a life transition such as hearing loss is even more difficult. The anxiety and strain on your mental health that social distancing and quarantining can cause can be overwhelming. Especially in an area like New York City where transmission rates were the highest in the US, psychotherapy or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are both very effective methods for working through your discomfort. There are many options for potential therapists in New York City, and your options are even vaster now. With many psychiatrists and psychotherapists offering telephone-based psychotherapy sessions, it’s just a matter of finding the right fit. Professional help is merely an appointment and a phone call away.