Hearing loss is a decreased ability to detect and understand sounds. Approximately 36 million Americans are affected, according to the National Institutes on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Hearing loss can range from mild to severe and can be temporary or permanent.

Hearing Loss Signs and Symptoms

You may have hearing loss if you:

  • Turn up the TV volume more than you used to
  • Notice that people have to repeat themselves so you can hear them
  • Have difficulty hearing on the telephone
  • Hear ringing, buzzing, or other sounds in your ears (tinnitus)
  • Have difficulty hearing in noisy areas

Hearing Loss Diagnosis

Your provider may take a medical history and do a physical exam. At Wake Forest Baptist, we use a variety of diagnostic tests to assess different parts of the hearing pathway and balance system. Tests may include:

  • Audiometry
  • Tympanometry (a test used to detect problems of the middle ear)
  • CT or MRI (if a tumor or fracture is suspected)

Hearing Loss Treatment

Your provider will determine your treatment for hearing loss based on multiple factors, including the severity of the hearing loss, the cause, and other health factors.

Your provider may determine that surgery is necessary to repair your hearing. Other treatment options may include:

  • Hearing aids
  • Devices for hearing loss
  • Sign language (for those with severe hearing loss)