Better Hearing in North Houston Begins With a Comprehensive Hearing Assessment

North Houston has some great places to eat out, like Casa Nueva, Rudy’s Bar B Que, and Texas Roadhouse, but have you stopped going out because it’s too noisy to enjoy the experience with family and friends?

Struggling to keep up with a conversation in a crowded restaurant or social event is among the early warning signs that you could be experiencing hearing loss.

You’re probably not aware that hearing loss is the third most common health issue in the United States, behind arthritis and heart disease. Because it’s relatively easy to overlook until the condition becomes severe, most people put off having their hearing tested for between seven and 10 years from when they experience the first signs of hearing loss.

Worse yet, when left untreated your hearing continues to deteriorate and other negative health concerns begin to show up, such as depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, and balance disorders.

Your hearing challenges may also have lasting effects on your quality of life as you begin to avoid going out and participating in social events, and your relationships may begin to fall apart as it becomes more difficult to communicate with those around you.

Are you struggling with hearing loss?

A hearing assessment is the only way to know for sure – and access to the truth about your hearing in North Houston is less than 30 minutes away in Spring, Texas.

The team of audiologists and hearing care professionals at North Houston Hearing Solutions have the experience and expertise to accurately diagnose hearing loss early on, allowing you to get the jump on better hearing without sacrificing your independent lifestyle and quality of life.

Four of the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Hearing Loss

1. What are the signs and symptoms of hearing loss?

A. You or someone close to you could be experiencing hearing loss if you or they are experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Frequently asking people to repeat themselves, because people are mumbling or talking too softly
  • Struggling to keep up with conversations when there is background noise (at restaurants, social events, family gatherings, etc.)
  • Frequent confusion because you misheard what someone said
  • Family, friends, and neighbors complaining that your TV is too loud
  • Avoiding phone conversations because you can’t understand the person you’re talking to
  • A constant ringing, hissing, or buzzing sound in your ears
  • Coworkers, friends, and family telling you to “get your ears checked”
  • Avoiding conversation and isolating from others

2. What causes hearing loss?

A. Hearing loss is either congenital or acquired. Since congenital hearing loss primarily relates to hearing challenges for infants or very young children, hearing challenges in adolescents and adults stem from acquired hearing loss.

The most common cause of acquired hearing loss is presbycusis, which involves deterioration of the inner ear as you age.

The next most common cause of acquired hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), which results from frequent or ongoing exposure to unsafe levels of sound without wearing hearing protection or exposure to an extreme explosive event.

Additional causes may include earwax or some other object blocking the ear canal, inflammation, growths or tumors, and ototoxic drugs and medications.

3. Are there different types of hearing loss?

A. Yes. There are three:

  • Conductive hearing loss is caused by a blockage in the ear canal or middle ear that prevents sound from being “conducted” to the inner ear
  • Sensorineural hearing loss, which is usually permanent, is caused by damage to the inner ear (cochlea) due to aging, noise exposure, medications, and/or illness
  • Mixed hearing loss occurs when you have either sensorineural or conductive hearing loss, and then develop the other form on top of it

4. Are there different levels of hearing loss?

A. Yes. An audiogram is a graphic representation of the lowest level of sound you’re able to hear at various pitches or frequencies. The amount of loss is classified and measured in decibel (dB) units, and then separated into five categories:

  • Mild (26 to 40 dB of loss): Trouble hearing quiet speech or conversations in a noisy room. In quiet environments, mild hearing loss is manageable.
  • Moderate (41 to 55 dB of loss): Difficulty hearing conversations in group settings. Sufferers tend to have the TV turned up too loud.
  • Moderately Severe (56 to 70 dB of loss): Understanding speech becomes more difficult, especially in group environments or when talking on the telephone.
  • Severe (71 to 90 dB of loss): Normal conversation is essentially inaudible, and it is difficult to understand even someone who is shouting.
  • Profound (loss over 91 dB): Only the loudest sounds are audible, and shouting may not be heard at all.

Common Hearing Tests For Adults

A full series of hearing tests, designed to zero in on the exact type of hearing loss and its level of severity, is included in a comprehensive hearing assessment, such as:

Step One: A Conversation About You

You might think we’re nosy, but there is a purpose to the conversation we have about your life and lifestyle at the beginning of your hearing assessment. During this conversation, your audiologist will learn a lot about what is causing your hearing challenges as well as their impact on your lifestyle and quality of life.

When you come in for your hearing assessment, be prepared to discuss:

  • Difficulties communicating with family members and others
  • Struggling to keep up with conversations in background noise
  • Difficulty understanding speakers at church, in school, or out in public
  • Issues with tinnitus (ringing, buzzing, crackling, etc.)
  • A sense of fullness or stuffiness in your ears
  • How your hearing challenges affect you emotionally, such as embarrassment from asking others to repeat themselves, withdrawing from social situations, or misunderstanding what others are saying

We’ll ask you about your occupation and lifestyle, including hobbies, special interests, and the types of leisure activities you enjoy. We’ll discuss your medical history, any medications you’re taking, and any history of hearing loss in your family.

It is helpful to bring a partner, family member, or trusted friend along with you to help fill in how well you communicate with others. This should be someone who communicates with you often.

During our initial conversation, we’ll also allow time for you to ask questions or express any concerns you may have about hearing loss and the hearing care services we provide.

Step Two: A Physical Examination of Your Ears

This step is a major difference between a generic hearing screening and a comprehensive hearing assessment. It involves using an otoscope (a magnifying glass with a light on a tapered tip) to physically examine your ear canal.

During our examination, we’ll evaluate skin conditions, earwax accumulation, inflammation, or the presence of obstructions in your ear canal as well as gauge the structural health of your eardrum.

Sometimes, removing obstructions, like earwax, a bug, or some other foreign object, is all that’s needed to restore your hearing. That’s why we include a physical examination of your ear canal up front.

Step Three: A Comprehensive Series of Hearing Tests

Another element of a comprehensive hearing assessment is the practice of using a series of tests to provide a more complete diagnosis. Testing will include:

  • Tympanometry: Used to test the movement of the eardrum and the flexibility of the inner ear muscles to ensure sound is moving properly through your ear.
  • Bone Conduction Test: Using a special headset that rests behind your ears, we’ll play a series of chirps to assess the health of your cochlea, or hearing organ.

The remainder of your testing will involve a sound booth or quiet room and a set of headphones. Your audiologist will play a series of tones through the headphones and then ask you to respond to the tones or spoken words you hear.

Another test that may be used in special cases is an otoacoustic emissions (OAE) test. The test is conducted by inserting a soft tip into the patient’s ear. The test will produce clicking or buzzing sounds, which stimulate certain hair cells in the cochlea. If the hair cells are healthy, they will emit a tiny response (similar to an echo) that can be measured with special equipment. These responses are called OAEs.

Step Four: We Discuss the Results of Your Tests

Have you ever had to wait for lab results to come back when you visited your primary physician or a specialist?

It doesn’t work that way with hearing tests. We can deliver hearing loss test results as soon as testing is complete.

Your audiologist will go over the results using your audiogram and explain what they mean. Once you understand your diagnosis, we’ll explain the different types of treatment options or recommend other forms of testing, if necessary.

Input from you is crucial during this step, because our goal is to work with you to come up with a solution that meets your better-hearing, lifestyle, and quality-of-life goals.

This final step is where we work hard to develop the honesty and trust necessary for a viable hearing care partnership.

Schedule a Hearing Assessment

Has a night out or family gatherings become a struggle due to background noise? Are others complaining about the volume of your TV, or are friends and family harassing you to “get your ears checked”?

If so, it’s time to learn the truth about your hearing with a hearing test.

Our North Houston Hearing Solutions audiologists have the experience and expertise to accurately diagnose the type and severity of your hearing challenges and provide solutions that will help you enjoy a lifestyle that includes better hearing.

Schedule a hearing evaluation with us by submitting the adjacent form. Once you do, a member of our team will call you to provide assistance.

Don’t want to wait? Call us at: 281-444-9800

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