Everett Clinic audiologist, Dr. Kimberly Scherer was featured in the Herald's, "Our hearing requires protection, and sometimes a technical boost."
Adult hearing loss can happen for a variety of reasons.
Aging is one — the medical term is presbycusis — but other causes include noise exposure and certain medications such as chemotherapies and some antibiotics.
It’s caused by damage to the stereocilia, delicate structures on top of hair cells in the inner ear. When these are damaged by noise or chemicals, it creates permanent hearing loss.
Here are six ways to keep your ears healthy:
- Avoid loud noise exposure (or use appropriate hearing protection).
- Do not smoke.
- Manage diabetes carefully.
- Monitor your blood pressure and keep it within healthy levels.
- Maintain an active life style.
- Eat a balanced, healthy diet.
Hearing loss often occurs slowly over time, so people don’t realize what is happening. Or, even if they notice the signs, they may put off getting help because they don’t want a hearing aid.
The good news is that today’s hearing aids can be really discreet and other people often won’t notice that you are wearing one.
And, the technology has improved. There are hearing aids with Bluetooth capabilities so you can hear in both your ears and on your cell phone calls.
Some hearing aids come with programs to reduce tinnitus, annoying ringing or buzzing sounds. They can mask the tinnitus with pleasant tones such as low melodies or ocean waves.
You can also get hearing aids with directional microphones to focus in on certain sounds and even remote microphones.
Instead of straining to hear your friend in a crowded restaurant or at a busy event, you could have her clip-on a tiny microphone and hear her voice directly.
A lot of times, it’s a family member’s frustration that finally brings someone to the audiologist.
But a hearing evaluation is quick, easy and painless. Most people’s insurance covers one hearing exam per year.
An audiologist specializes in the diagnosis and non-medical treatment of hearing balance problems and can help determine when it may be beneficial to get help for hearing loss and provide options.