Offering diagnosis and treatment of communication, hearing, and swallowing disorders
Published: Oct. 8, 2010
Updated: Nov. 3, 2011
Sound is caught by our outer ear (pinna) and funneled down the ear canal where it reaches the eardrum (tympanic membrane).
The sound vibrates the eardrum, which then vibrates the bones (malleus, incus and stapes) behind the eardrum in the middle ear space.
The linked movement of the bones transmits vibrations to the inner ear via the oval window.
The inner ear contains the organ of hearing (the cochlea) and the vibrations are transmitted into signals that are then transferred to the auditory center of the brain.
Hearing testing is important for children and adults. It is always beneficial to get your hearing tested even if you don’t suspect a problem.
At your next annual physical consider requesting a hearing test so you will have a baseline test to help determine any changes in the future. If you or a significant other suspects that you may have hearing loss, schedule an appointment.
If a sudden loss of hearing is noticed, it is important to come in for a hearing test as soon as possible, preferably in the first 48 hours. Getting a hearing test will help us to determine any needs you may have for successful communication.
You may have hearing loss if you exhibit the following symptoms:
If you have any of these symptoms, call 919-684-3859 to schedule an appointment for a hearing evaluation.
Hearing loss is described by the type, degree, and configuration. The type could be sensorineural, conductive, or mixed. The degree is the amount of hearing loss you have: mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe, or profound. The configuration describes the amount of hearing loss for each sound tested.
This type of hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or the vestibulocochlear nerve. Sensorineural hearing loss is more likely to be permanent.
Causes may include noise exposure, ototoxic medications (drugs that cause damage to the hearing nerve), aging, viruses, head trauma, and genetic conditions.
Conductive hearing loss occurs when something is blocking the sound from reaching the inner ear. This type of hearing loss is more likely to be treated with medical intervention.
Examples of conductive hearing loss may include ear infections, build up of ear wax, a problem with the bones in the middle ear space, or presence of a foreign body in the ear canal.
Mixed hearing loss occurs as a combination of a sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss. An example of a mixed loss would include permanent (sensorineural) hearing loss as a result of noise exposure in conjunction with ear wax blocking the ear canal.
With this type of hearing loss, you will have one normal hearing ear and one ear with a hearing loss. This type of hearing loss could be sensorineural, conductive, or mixed.
An audiogram is a graph designed to plot your hearing levels at several different pitches. Your right ear will be represented by ‘O’ and the left ear will be represented by an ‘X’.
They will be plotted on the audiogram similar to the one pictured below. Your audiologist will describe your audiogram to you following your hearing