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Hearing Loss

Memorial Village ENT

ENT Physician & Audiologist located in Houston, TX

Age-related hearing loss is a common problem for about one-third of adults aged 65 and older, but hearing loss can occur at any age. No matter when you start to notice changes in your hearing, such as needing to turn up the TV or asking people to repeat what they said, board-certified ENT physician Conrad McCutcheon, MD, FACS, and the licensed audiologist at Memorial Village ENT in Houston, Texas, can help. They work closely to assess your hearing and provide a treatment plan best suited to your lifestyle and needs. If you need your hearing checked, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.

Hearing Loss Q & A

Why should I be concerned about hearing loss?

Many people dismiss hearing loss and view proper treatment as an optional expense. However, maintaining the function of your ears is not only crucial for your day-to-day safety and quality of life, but it could also prevent the advancement of serious neurological conditions.

People who suffer from hearing loss and do not receive appropriate care are at a higher risk of developing dementia than their unimpaired counterparts. Maintaining your hearing can prevent the mental decline and memory problems caused by dementia.

What causes hearing loss?

You can develop three types of hearing loss:

Conductive hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs when soundwaves fail to reach your inner ear. This type of hearing loss is often caused by problems such as:

  • Fluid in your middle ear
  • Ear infections
  • Excessive earwax
  • Middle ear bone damage
  • Eardrum damage

In many cases, Dr. McCutcheon can treat the underlying problem and restore your hearing.

Sensorineural hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by a problem in your inner ear or auditory nerve that prevents signals from reaching your brain. This type of hearing loss develops due to aging, injuries, and exposure to loud sounds or music. Sensorineural hearing loss is usually permanent, but it can be mitigated with hearing aids.

Mixed hearing loss

You have mixed hearing loss when you have conductive and sensorineural problems at the same time.

How is hearing loss treated?

If you have conductive hearing loss, Dr. McCutcheon treats the underlying problem to restore your hearing. When your hearing loss is permanent, you’ll need an assistive listening device or hearing aid.

The team at Memorial Village ENT includes a licensed audiologist who performs a comprehensive hearing evaluation, explains your hearing aid options, and helps you choose the one that’s best for you.

In addition to choosing a style you like, you may also want special features such as rechargeable hearing aids, Bluetooth streaming or remote control.

Protecting your ears and hearing

Noise-induced hearing loss is a leading cause of hearing loss. Fortunately, it can be prevented easily. Memorial Village ENT can help you pick out the appropriate custom made earplugs so that you can continue to work, enjoy your hobby and music safely.

If you are an avid swimmer and are prone to swimmer’s ear, we have custom made swim ear molds to keep water out of your ears. 

What types of hearing aids are available for hearing loss?

All hearing aids contain a microphone to pick up sound, an amplifier to make the sound louder, and a receiver that sends the sound to your ear. Memorial Village ENT offers a variety of hearing aid styles, including:

Behind the ear (BTE) with the receiver in the canal (RIC)

The microphone and amplifier are in a plastic case that sits behind your ear, while the receiver is in your ear canal.

In the ear (ITE) or in the canal (ITC)

These hearing aids are smaller than the BTE style because all the components are in a plastic shell that’s custom-made to fit in the outer part of your ear or in the ear canal.

Completely in the canal (CIC)

The entire hearing aid is custom sized to fit in the ear canal, making it virtually invisible except for the tiny handle you use to take it out of your ear.

All hearing aids come with a 30-day trial period, an extended warranty, and four months of free programming and adjustments. Additionally, Memorial Village ENT offers hearing aid maintenance and repair in the office.

Are hearing aids rechargeable?

Some hearing aids are rechargeable. You only need to charge them for a few hours, and then your hearing aid lasts up to 48 hours. 

Rechargeable batteries are an excellent option for those who have manual dexterity problems and would have a hard time changing a tiny battery, those who don't want their device to die at inconvenient times, and those who are environmentally conscientious.

If you notice a change in your hearing, don't wait to call Memorial Village ENT or book an appointment online today.

Can I get an extended warranty for my hearing aids?

Memorial Village ENT has partnered with Ear Services Corporation (ESCO) to provide the best, extended warranty and loss replacement coverage for our patients.

Your new hearing aids are complex medical devices. Although your medical insurance plan may provide for your hearing aid purchase, they may not guarantee replacements for lost or damaged hearing aids.

To protect your investment and maintain the new quality of life you have gained with your Hearing Aids, we offer a selection of extended warranty options.

What is the difference between personal amplifiers and hearing aids?

Both devices make sounds louder. Personal amplifiers are not intended to correct a hearing loss and are, therefore, not considered medical devices. They are also not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Hearing aids are designed to assist a person with hearing loss and can be adjusted to your specific hearing needs. Hearing aids are regulated by the FDA, and manufacturers must have research to prove all claims they make regarding their hearing aids to be accurate. An individual must be licensed to dispense hearing aids.

Can I buy my hearing aids online?

Because it seems simple to "install" a hearing aid, many people believe it's an uncomplicated device that merely "amplifies" sound. A hearing aid is an extremely sophisticated medical device that needs to be adjusted to an individual's medical need using specialized tools.

Success with a hearing aid requires guidance during the selection and initial fitting phase, as well as adjustments based on your experiences and diagnostic tests performed by an audiologist. Working closely with an audiologist will be difficult if you choose to purchase hearing aids online.

Online hearing screenings cannot accurately diagnose hearing health issues or the cause of hearing loss. If you are experiencing a hearing loss, first see an ear, nose, and throat physician, and be tested by a licensed audiologist.

Why do some people wear one hearing aid?

If someone only experiences hearing loss in one ear or has hearing that is not usable in one ear (called a profound hearing loss), they may only need one hearing aid.

Most people do indeed require two hearing aids to obtain the most benefit. Even when it is not in their best interest, some people choose to wear only one hearing aid.

Do I really need two hearing aids?

Without an individual consultation, this question can’t be answered for everyone. What can be said is that a majority of people with hearing loss have an equal amount of hearing loss in both ears.

Even when there are differences between the ears, speech is understood better at a softer volume when both ears are sending speech information to the brain. Speech in a noisy room is easier to understand when two ears are listening.

Also, our brain uses differences in loudness and timing of sounds between the ears to determine where a sound is coming from. This can create a safety issue if a person who needs two hearing aids is only wearing one.