Your degree of hearing loss can range from mild to profound. For those with profound hearing loss, seeking help from an experienced audiologist is crucial. Below are the four steps of treatment.
In order to put together a treatment plan, your Charleston audiologist needs to know everything they can about your type and degree of hearing loss. To do so, they will review your medical history, perform a physical exam and conduct a series of hearing tests. Your comprehensive audiology evaluation may involve one or more of the following tests:
- Pure tone testing
- Bone conduction testing
- Speech testing
- Acoustic reflex testing
- Auditory brainstem response
- Otoacoustic emissions
Once the results are in from your audiology evaluations, your audiologist will review your treatment options. The four most common for your type of hearing loss include:
This device sits inside or behind the ear and electronically amplifies sounds from your surroundings to a level you can hear. Hearing aids can improve your ability to understand speech and hear sounds you have been missing, but the device will not return your hearing to normal.
This device requires surgery to implant a probe into the inner ear to directly stimulate your auditory nerve. Unlike a hearing aid that amplifies sounds, a cochlear implant bypasses your damaged ear entirely. Sound information is sent directly to the nerve, which then sends the signal to the brain to be processed.
Even with surgery, this treatment option is considered very safe. Cochlear implants are only recommended for those who do not find benefit from hearing aids.
Middle Ear Implants
This treatment includes an external microphone that picks up sounds and translates them into electronic signals and an implant attached to the bones of the middle ear. The implant enhances the vibration, which is sent on to the inner ear.
This treatment method is designed for those who see no benefit from hearing aids but do not have severe enough hearing loss to qualify for a cochlear implant.
Auditory Brainstem Implant
This treatment option sends sound information directly to the brain. Currently, only a small number of patients qualify for this treatment, as it is only recommended for those who have a missing or nonfunctional cochlear nerve.
Use Your Device
Once your treatment option has been selected, your audiologist will work with you to understand how to use it. This is a crucial step, as the advanced technology within these devices yields great benefits when used properly.
Your audiologist will walk you through powering the device on and off, inserting batteries (or charging the device if you opted for a rechargeable model), changing the programming and more. If you have any questions while using the device at home, don’t hesitate to contact the office for help.
Add Additional Devices
While your hearing aids significantly improve your hearing, assistive listening devices can provide additional help.
Remote controls can change your device settings without requiring you to fiddle with buttons. Personal microphones can help amplify your conversation partner’s voice while eliminating distracting background noises.
To learn more about treating your hearing loss or to schedule an appointment, contact the experts at Hearing & Balance Center at Charleston ENT & Allergy today.