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Types of hearing loss and when to get tested



Chicago Tribune
Anne Stein
January 15, 2015

We are probably better at restoring hearing than any other of the five senses, said Dr. Matthew Carlson, an otolaryngologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "We tell our patients that we can almost always do something to help them regardless of the severity of hearing loss." Even complete deafness usually can be treated with cochlear implants.

So why don't more people get their hearing tested and treated? "A lot of people feel that their hearing may not be perfect, but it's not bad enough to warrant a hearing aid. In many cases, we find it's not the patient who decides to get a hearing evaluation but concerned family members or friends who insist they get tested," Carlson said.

"Historically there has also been a social stigma about hearing aids — they've been associated with being old or frail, but now they're so discreet you probably encounter a significant number of people daily who have them and you don't know it," Carlson said. "Earbuds, Bluetooth headsets and other electronic devices are worn by so many people that having a device on the ear has almost become as common as wearing glasses."

There are two basic kinds of hearing loss: conductive and sensorineural, Carlson said. Conductive hearing loss may . . .

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