For many people in the United States, ear issues such as hearing loss and tinnitus, which is characterized by a persistent ringing in the ears, are all too familiar. These conditions and others like them can range from that of a minor annoyance to severe and even debilitating. All ear issues, from tinnitus to profound deafness, should be looked at by an ENT, an ear nose and throat specialist, to better assess the damage done to your ears and chart an appropriate course of treatment.
Hearing loss is not an uncommon condition in the United States, affecting as much as twenty percent of the total population. Hearing loss can occur for a number of reasons, from exposure to loud noises to simple aging. Aging is the most common cause of progressive hearing loss, and one third of all adults in the United States live with some degree of hearing loss. The hearing damage caused by exposure to loud noises is not insignificant, however, as nearly twenty percent of Americans have something called high frequency hearing loss. These Americans, between the ages of twenty and nearly seventy, have sustained this high frequency hearing loss from exposure to loud sounds. Children are also affected by varying levels of hearing loss, with fifteen percent of all children in school diagnosed with some level of hearing impairment. It is estimated that around three out of every one thousand children in the United States is born with this hearing loss to some degree, though some cases will be considerably less severe than others. By 2025, just a few short years from now, it is estimated that nearly one billion people worldwide will suffer from some degree of hearing damage and, subsequently, hearing loss.
As tinnitus sufferers know, tinnitus can sometimes be an unbearable condition. Unfortunately, tinnitus is possible both with and outside of hearing loss. Subjective and objective tinnitus are the two types of tinnitus that can be diagnosed, but the majority of tinnitus cases – nearly one hundred percent of them – are classified as subjective. Seeing an ENT for a tinnitus exam can be helpful in diagnosing which type you have. A tinnitus exam can assess the extent of your tinnitus as well as how treatment will progress for it. Tinnitus is considered to be an extremely common condition, affecting more than fifty million people in the United States alone.
Fortunately for those who suffer from tinnitus as a symptom of hearing loss, the implementation of hearing aids is one way that the negative symptoms of tinnitus can be reduced or even eradicated (though most people will continue to live with the condition to some degree). A tinnitus exam can help to determine what your tinnitus is caused by and how to treat it if it is caused by hearing loss. The use of a hearing device is common among American people, with more than ten million people across the country using a hearing aid on a regular basis. Hearing aids can be prescribed after a hearing evaluation with an experienced ENT, and can provide a considerable amount of hearing back for many patients as well as ridding or reducing the affects of tinnitus. There are many benefits to choosing to wear a hearing aid, but hearing aids must be well taken care of and it is likely that you will continue to need your hearing evaluated on a regular basis in order to keep track of any progressive hearing loss, as well as to adjust the strength of your hearing aids.
From a hearing evaluation to a tinnitus exam it is important to schedule an appointment with your ENT if you are concerned about the function of your ears. A tinnitus exam or even a regular exam can be incredibly helpful in treating your hearing condition.