Audiology & Hearing
Hearing loss affects everyone, whether it is someone you love or yourself. Testing for hearing loss is simple. If you think you might need a hearing test, here are the top ten signs to look out for.
- You want the volume to be turned up louder than everyone else in the room
- You ask others to repeat what they said more than a few times a day, especially when you are in a noisy room
- You hear a ringing sound (tinnitus) in one or both ears
- You are positive that people are mumbling, especially women and small children
- You find yourself avoiding social situations because you know you're going to struggle to hear what people are saying
- You hear better out of one ear than the other
- You dread answering the phone because you know you're going to have a problem understanding the person on the other end
- You have a harder time hearing later in the day than early in the morning
- Your loved ones are begging you to get your hearing checked
The average person waits 5 to 7 years before they decide to do something about their hearing loss. With the proper medical care, those are years that could have been spent hearing the finer things in life.
Children and young adults who have trouble hearing often have a difficult time learning or focusing at school, or fitting in socially with their peers. Our friendly staff offers comprehensive testing for young children and adolescents, with excellent audiology and therapy services for both the patient and their parents, to help everyone achieve a higher quality of life.
Deafness is the inability to hear sound. It has many causes and can occur at any age. People can go deaf suddenly as a side effect of a virus, or lose their hearing over time because of disease, nerve damage, or an injury caused by noise or physical trauma. Sudden or profound deafness is easy to recognize, since there is such a noticeable change in hearing. Milder hearing loss may not be noticed right away, since it often comes on gradually and most people just get used to it.
One of the most common birth defects is hearing loss, or congenital deafness, which affects as many as 3 in every 1,000 babies born. Genetics are also believed to play a significant role in hearing loss in the elderly. Other factors may include medical problems, environmental exposure, trauma, and medications.
Deafness may be caused by one of two ways:
- Conductive hearing loss occurs when something blocks sound waves from reaching the inner ear
- Sensoineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear, or to the nerves that send sound to the brain, and is more likely to be permanent and cause deafness
We will test your hearing loss to find out the root cause. Once we discover the exact reason you are suffering from a profound loss of hearing, there are many treatments that will be considered, depending on your individual case.
At our Pasadena office, we provide the services of a certified audiologist who can help diagnose hearing loss, as well as provide therapeutic services for rehabilitation and management of hearing loss. With extensive training, skills, and testing equipment to evaluate the hearing of adults, infants, and children of all ages, we provide a comprehensive solution for our patients.
Auditory brainstem reflex testing examines the complete auditory pathway from the inner ear to the brain. The test takes approximately one hour, where we measure the response to "clicking" sounds presented at various loudness levels. This data allows us to determine how efficiently sound is moving through the hearing system.
Tympanometry is also used to evaluate the function of the middle ear. The tympanogram provides us with a graphic representation of the relationship of air pressure in the ear canal to the impedance (or resistance to movement) of the ear drum and middle ear system. When the ear drum is disturbed by a sound, part of the sound is absorbed and sent through the middle ear, while the other part of the sound is reflected back. A typanogram provides us with additional information, especially the Eustachian tube function, to help diagnose and treat your hearing disorder.
Click here to meet our Audiologist Dr. Rose Keshishyan
Noise Prevention & Exposure
Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss, and one of the most common occupational illnesses in the United States. A single shot from a large caliber firearm, experienced at close range, may permanently damage your hearing in an instant. Repeated exposure to loud machinery may, over an extended period of time, present serious risks to our hearing.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, up to 10 million Americans have already suffered irreversible hearing damage from noise, and 30 to 50 million more are exposed to dangerous noise levels (over 85 decibels) each day.
(Don't forget to check out the "noise thermometer" below!)
Noise-induced hearing loss is almost entirely preventable. While each individual's susceptibility to hearing loss varies, it is always good to take the following precautions:
- Know which noises can cause hearing damage, including jet engines, lawn mowers, chainsaws, powerboats, and MP3 players or loud music.
- Try to reduce noise at the source. Keeping equipment in good maintenance or placing loud machines inside of an enclosure can shield you from damaging sound.
- Personal listening devices, such as iPods, MP3 or CD players, can present risks to hearing if used at too high of a volume for too long. Use noise-canceling earphones to block out background noise and help you moderate your listening level, and give yourself breaks if you do choose to listen loud.
- Wear hearing protection devices, such as earplugs or earmuffs, when involved in loud activities. A proper hearing protection device is required by law to be labeled with a "Noise Reduction Rating" that is based on the performance obtained under ideal laboratory conditions. Make sure to wear the device correctly.
Occupations particularly at risk for hearing loss due to noise exposure include:
- Police officers
- Factory workers
- Construction workers
- Military personnel
- Heavy industry workers
- Entertainment industry professionals
- Office staff in crowded buildings
In addition to hearing loss, another condition that is often caused by noise exposure is tinnitus--or the perception of ringing, buzzing, or hissing sounds in the absence of any external stimulus. Those who suffer from tinnitus find it difficult to experience quiet, and this can be very distressing.