When we talk about hearing treatment options, we present them based on the results of the hearing assessment, what the cause of each individual’s hearing loss might be, your cognitive and auditory processing skills along with what fits best with each person’s unique lifestyle and needs. And of course, budget.
I divide the treatment options for hearing loss into two parts. While most people think of hearing loss treatment as only being about hearing devices, a hearing loss might require medical treatment rather than rehabilitative treatment.
Let me explain…
Medical Treatment Options For Hearing Loss
One type of treatment for hearing loss is medical treatment.
Within the medical treatments category, required treatment might be:
- Cleaning out earwax buildup (which can often be performed in our office)
- A type of medication
If we discover that something in the hearing requires medical attention, then we refer a patient to what is called an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist or otolaryngologist, who will then administer the proper medical treatment.
The type of medication recommended will depend on the type of medical issue causing the hearing loss, such as a course of antibiotics for inflammation from an ear infection.
So many medical conditions can contribute to hearing loss that prescribing one requires seeing a medical professional or specialist for that condition, such as a specialist in diabetes, hypertension, or blood vessel disorders.
Some medications, such as select chemotherapy drugs, are actually responsible for hearing loss, so the move is made to change the medication for one that is not ototoxic (damaging to hearing), if possible.
Surgery might be required for events such as eardrum rupture or perforation, infected material in the middle ear, or damage to the middle ear bones from a head injury.
If we suspect the presence of a benign growth (non-cancerous growth) or cyst on the auditory nerve, or elsewhere in the auditory system, then a series of other further tests is done to rule it out or confirm it.
Surgery can be optional when deciding how to treat a benign growth. Oftentimes, people actually elect to live with that rather than go through surgery or an alternative way of removing that growth.
Rehabilitative Treatment Options For Hearing Loss
When treating hearing loss with a hearing device, we are not dealing with amplification devices anymore – a very simple kind of device that takes a soft sound and makes it louder. Our goal is to not only make sounds louder but to make speech clearer. We refer this as improving speech intelligibility.
We’re dealing with very sophisticated devices. I would compare these to a computer-like device or a signal processing device – where the sound comes into the device, the sound is digitally processed, and then the sound is converted to an analog signal or sound we hear.
When recommending a hearing device, we advise the patient based on which devices are most suitable for the patient’s hearing loss, again, the cognitive and auditory processing skills, and the person’s dexterity to be able to place the hearing aid properly in the ear and of course their lifestyle.
We thoroughly explain the patient’s expectations on what the hearing device will accomplish which we feel is so crucial in the successful outcome.
Here at AVI, we stay up to date with today’s hearing aid technology to give our patients the most optimal hearing outcome, and we personalize your hearing care around you.
We look forward to helping you.