Sarasota Edition

Untreated Hearing Loss

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition facing adults today. Despite being an incredibly debilitating issue, many individuals delay seeking help for a variety of reasons, including denial. However, just as with any other health condition, those who suspect they are suffering from hearing loss should check it out as soon as possible in order to receive the best treatment. Once diagnosed, there may be several treatment options for their hearing loss, including medication, surgery, or hearing aids.

Why treat hearing loss?
Hearing loss makes it difficult to communicate with family and loved ones. Left untreated, those with hearing loss tend to withdraw from participating in conversations and activities because it’s easier not to have to listen. This is thought to be the link between hearing loss and a variety of emotional problems which affect the quality of life, including anxiety and depression.

In addition, a study performed by the National Institute on Aging shows individuals with hearing loss were more likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

And as if that is not enough, a study by the Better Hearing Institute found households with an employed individual who has untreated hearing loss makes up to $12,000 less annually.

What types of hearing loss are there, and what are the typical treatment options?
Temporary hearing loss is generally caused by exposure to loud noise or music. There is no treatment for this type of hearing shift because it usually only lasts for a few hours. Ear plugs or muffs are recommended to help prevent temporary changes in hearing. Unprotected exposure to loud noise over time can result in permanent hearing loss.

Conductive hearing losses may involve the outer and/or middle ears of the auditory system. Conductive hearing loss may be due to a buildup of wax in the ear canal, a perforation of the eardrum, fluid behind the eardrum in the middle ear cavity, or hereditary conditions such as otosclerosis. Conductive hearing losses are usually temporary and can be treated medically or surgically. Hearing aids may be an option depending on the medical condition of the ear.

Sensorineural hearing losses are permanent and often referred to as “nerve” loss. This type of loss is caused by damage to or a deterioration of hair cells in the inner ear. It is the most prevalent form of hearing loss. Studies show 95% of sensorineural hearing losses can be helped with amplification from hearing aids or cochlear implants.

Hearing aids?
Hearing aids are designed to help people stay connected to life and to those they love. Today’s high performance devices are sleek and use state-of-the-art digital technology.

Whether you are in a meeting, having a conversation in a crowded restaurant, at the gym, or sitting in church, this technology constantly and automatically adjusts to all kinds of soundscapes. In addition, the new hearing aid technology has the ability to stream directly to smartphones, MP3 players, computers, televisions and other high-tech electronics at your most comfortable volume.

Dr. Stefan Butz
Stefan moved to Florida in 1988 and attended the University of South Florida where his met his lovely wife, Tammy. Now they have three grown children, one of whom is enrolled in medical school.

Coming from a multi-generational military family, service to others has always been a tradition for Stefan. He completed his training as a Hearing Aid Specialist in 2009, and later received his board certification in Hearing Instrument Science. He has been serving others and helping them hear their bright, beautiful world for almost 10 years. He believes it is truly a delight and a joy connecting people with their world.

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