Hawthorn Medical’s Audiology Department offers the highest professional level of audiological services for complete diagnostic hearing evaluations for anyone over the age of 3 years. Audiology services relate to prevention, evaluation and rehabilitation of hearing and balance impairments. Our goal is to provide each patient with the best possible care based upon individual needs and to provide the quality of life that our patients’ desire.
The first step for anyone who suspects hearing loss is to have a hearing evaluation performed by an audiologist. Working with the otolaryngologists (ear, nose, throat physicians), a decision can be made about the evaluation and treatment of each patient’s hearing needs. Most people with hearing impairment can benefit from the use of hearing aids. Our audiologist is knowledgeable about the latest hearing aid technology. She is able to discuss amplification options and refer patients to the appropriate hearing aid provider.
A physician referral may be required for evaluations. It is best to check with your individual plan before scheduling an appointment. For more information about hearing loss and hearing health care, call 508-996-3991.
Impacts of untreated hearing loss
Hearing loss can be hard to identify as it can happen gradually over time. However, there can be serious side effects to untreated hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss can lead to social isolation which is a risk factor for depression and dementia. Additionally, people with hearing loss have to work harder than those with normal hearing to understand speech, which can mean less capacity for the brain to store information. It is important to treat any hearing loss as soon as it is identified to ensure that you can still enjoy social interactions to the fullest extent.
Facts about noise-induced hearing loss
You can permanently lose your hearing from prolonged exposure to noise! Twelve million American have hearing loss as a result of exposure to noise.
Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by damage to the hair cells that are found in our inner ear. Hair cells are small sensory cells that convert the sounds we hear into electrical signals that travel to the brain. Once damaged, our hair cells cannot grow back, causing permanent hearing loss.
The loudness of sound is measured in units called decibels (dB). Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by prolonged exposure to any loud noise over 85 (dB), such as:
- 90 dB—Hair dryers, blenders, lawnmowers
- 100 dB—MP3 players at full volume
- 110 dB—Concerts, car racing and sporting events
- 120dB—Jet planes at take off
- 130 dB—Ambulances
- 140 dB—Gun shots, fireworks, and custom car stereos at full volume
Noise is dangerous if:
- You have to shout over background noise to be heard.
- The noise is painful to your ears.
- The noise makes your ears ring.
- You have “muffled” hearing for several hours after exposure.
Hearing loss not only affects your ability to understand speech but it also has a negative impact on your social and emotional well-being. Noise-induced hearing loss can occur gradually over time, and people don’t often realize they are changing the way they live to make up for the disability.
Protect your hearing, by:
- Wearing hearing protection when around sounds louder than 85dB for a long period of time.
- Turning down the volume when listening to the radio, the TV, MP3 player, or anything through earbuds and headphones.
- Walking away from the noise.
If you think you may have hearing loss, set up an appointment with Hawthorn Medical’s audiologist to get your hearing checked.