Contact us for all hearing related services in Southern Colorado including hearing aids, implants and tinnitus related solutions at (719) 633-1494.
The main causes of hearing impairment are aging, noise exposure, and hereditary predispositions. Though not common, chronic, untreated ear infections, known as otitis media, may also cause hearing damage. An infection in the middle ear can cause fluid to build up, obstructing the movement of the eardrum. Hearing loss resulting from damage to the eardrum is referred to as “conductive hearing loss.”
Who Is Prone to Ear Infections?
Ear infections can happen to anyone, but younger children are more prone due to weaker immune systems and smaller, more horizontal eustachian tubes, which connect the ears to the nose and throat. These anatomical differences make it harder for fluid to drain. Five out of six children experience at least one ear infection by the age of three years, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Symptoms and Treatments of Ear Infections
Ear infections can temporarily affect hearing. This can be unsettling, but it most often doesn’t result in any permanent hearing loss. In addition to changes in hearing, the most common symptoms include ear pain, irritability, ear discharge, and a feeling of fullness in the ear. A doctor may recommend ear tube surgery for recurrent ear infections and lingering middle ear fluid. This is a minor surgery that entails making an incision in the eardrum to drain fluid and often attaching a tube to help drain the middle ear, which may be in place for months or years. Addressing chronic infections is important, especially in children, because experiencing stretches of mild hearing loss may affect their speech and language learning.
Getting a Hearing Diagnosis
Hearing tests are painless and non-invasive procedures that take place in a quiet, sound-treated room that keeps out any other noises. The room also has specially placed speakers used for testing babies and toddlers. The patient wears headphones connected to an audiometer while an audiogram determines the softest sounds the patient can hear at different pitches. The hearing consultants use the audiogram results to assess the patient’s hearing and recommend appropriate treatments. If you or your child has had changes in hearing or symptoms of ear infections, see a professional to help determine the cause and clear up the infection. The audiologists at Hearing Consultants of Colorado Springs pride ourselves on our personalized and professional services, and we can help if you or your child has difficulty hearing. Call us at (719) 633-1494 to schedule an appointment with our team.
Since hearing aids are available in a variety of sizes and offer different features, choosing the correct model depends on the type of hearing loss and the wearer’s preferences when it comes to comfort, appearance, and performance. Here’s a look at some of the most common styles of hearing aids and how they operate.
Completely-in-the-Canal and in-the-Canal Hearing Aids
As their names imply, completely-in-the-canal (CIC) and in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids are custom-molded to fit comfortably inside the wearer’s ear canal. Both CIC and ITC hearing aids help with mild to moderate hearing loss, and both are designed with low visibility in mind. CIC models are very small and discreet, but they also have limits when it comes to battery life and extra features. Since ITCs are larger and only partially inside the wearer’s ear canal, they are more visible than CICs, but they can also handle extra features like volume control that CICs can’t.
In-the-Ear Hearing Aids
Custom-molded, in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids fit into the wearer’s ear in two different ways: either by filling most of the hollow region of the outer ear (known as full shell) or by filling just the lower half of that region (known as half shell). ITE hearing aids are larger and more visible than CIC and ITC models, but this allows them to have even more added features, including volume control and much better battery life. These models are also often easier to remove, put back in, and maintain due to their location in the ear and larger size.
Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids have a segment that reaches over and around the top of the ear and a small tube that connects to the earpiece, which fits inside the ear. As with CICs, ITCs, and ITEs, the earpieces in BTE hearing aids are custom-fitted to sit comfortably and snugly in the wearer’s ear, but they’re able to help with virtually all levels of hearing loss. Additionally, since BTE hearing aids are larger than other models and can be removed easily, they are easier to clean, maintain, and may help wearers resolve common hearing aid issues.
Receiver-in-the-Canal Hearing Aids
Receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing aids also have a segment that is on top of the ear which leads to a receiver and is placed in the ear canal which is attached to the piece on top of the ear by a thin wire. They are designed to be a very comfortable and very cosmetically appealing option for many patients and can help with most types of hearing loss. These devices also have the ability to wirelessly connect to a variety of Bluetooth devices. Our team at Hearing Consultants can help you to find the perfect style of hearing aids for your needs and preferences. To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call (719) 633-1494 today. Image attribution: Image licensed through Adobe Stock Images by the client
What’s the connection between balance and hearing? Although hearing loss doesn’t specifically cause balance problems, some inner ear issues that lead to hearing loss can impact balance. Proper treatment of these issues can restore equilibrium and improve mobility.
What Systems Are Involved in Balance?
Balance is controlled by a combination of the vestibular system, one’s sense of eyesight, and the proprioceptive information to the musculoskeletal system. The vestibular system is found in the labyrinth of the inner ear, which contains several small, delicate organs that help regulate balance, including the otolithic organs and three semicircular canals. One of these sends the body signals about tilting motions, one sends signals about sideways motions, and one sends signals about up and down motion. These signals are regulated by environmental feedback gathered by the fluid and hair cells within the inner ear. Inner ear problems that affect balance include inner ear infection or blood circulation problems as well as tiny crystals floating in the semicircular canals.
What Are the Symptoms of Balance Issues?
Those who are affected by an issue with one of the factors influencing balance may experience the following symptoms:
- A floating feeling
- Confusion or disorientation
- Unsteady gait
- Blurry vision
- Panic or fear
- Feelings of depression or anxiety
When hearing loss is associated with a balance disorder, the person may also experience vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, or heart rate and blood pressure issues.
How Are Balance Disorders Treated?
Balance testing by an experienced audiologist can help determine the existence of a balance disorder. In most cases, the underlying medical problem affecting balance must be treated for these symptoms to be resolved. Some people benefit from a type of physical therapy called vestibular rehabilitation, which can help to restore balance.
At Hearing Consultants of Colorado Springs, we will test your hearing and treat any problems that can affect balance. Book an appointment online or call (719) 633-1494 today to learn more about our services.