Chronic Hearing Loss in Adults

Dr. Rejowski, an otolaryngologist with York ENT Surgical Consultants in Hinsdale, treats adults who experience chronic sensorineural hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss, which is most common in people middle-aged or older, is usually caused by problems within the cochlea, an organ in the inner ear.

Symptoms

In adults, sensorineural hearing loss may be present if the patient:

  • Hears sounds as muffled or softer than they actually are
  • Cannot hear high-pitched tones well
  • Cannot hear the sounds “s,” “f,” or “z”
  • Cannot understand speech well if there is any background noise
  • Experiences tinnitus, or ringing in the ear
  • Experiences vertigo

Causes

There are many causes for sensorineural hearing loss. There are also many factors that can contribute to the development of this condition, including:

  • Age related changes
  • Environmental and physical factors such drug use or noise exposure
  • Viral infections, such as herpes simplex, mumps, measles, and influenza
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Temporal arteritis
  • Malignancy
  • Inherited types of hearing loss

Treatment

To diagnose sensorineural hearing loss, Dr. Rejowski first must perform a comprehensive examination of the ear, study the patient’s medical and family history, and obtain an audiogram.  A CT scan or MRI study is indicated when there is an asymmetry between one ear and the other on the audiogram. Auditory Brainstem Response testing, a form of audiometric test, is also helpful in determining whether a loss is from the cochlea or from the brain or auditory nerve itself.

Many patients who suffer from sensorineural hearing loss are helped by using hearing aids. With current digital technology, many types of hearing aids are available and may be tailored to a patient’s individual hearing loss.

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