All News

Ask A Doc – Dr. Bayle Anderson

A weekly column addressing your most sought-after health questions, answered by Harbin Clinic’s expert healthcare professionals

Question: I often ask my friends and family to repeat things they say. Should I have my hearing checked?

Dr. Anderson: Hearing loss is much more common as people age. But hearing loss isn’t always associated with getting older. If you notice that conversations sound muffled, you ask others to slow down or repeat themselves when they’re talking or you’re turning up the TV to a point where others complain, you’ll want to investigate your hearing health further.

There are generally two types of hearing loss, sensorineural and conductive. Sensorineural hearing loss is a type of hearing impairment caused by damage to the inner ear or nerve pathways connecting the inner ear to the brain. This type of hearing loss is currently the third most common chronic condition in older adults. Some causes of this could be age-related hearing loss, exposure to loud noises over a long period of time, head trauma, or previous infection, or medication.

Conductive hearing loss happens when sound is not carried from the outer ear canal to the eardrum. This type of hearing impairment is typically marked by a decreased ability in hearing faint sounds.

Some patients can have a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss, and others may suffer from sudden hearing loss. Additionally, research has shown the link between hearing loss, and dementia/ cognitive function.

If you suffer from hearing loss, contact your primary care physician. They will perform the initial examine looking for ear blockages. An office examination may reveal an easily corrected problem, such as a wax buildup in the ear canal. Hearing loss without any apparent physical cause usually indicates a sensorineural hearing loss or decreased function of the auditory nerve. If you need further assessment, your primary care doctor will refer you to an audiologist, and they will perform additional testing.

Published June 13, 2020

My Locations

Your saved providers will appear below.

My Providers

Your saved providers will appear below.