Hearing loss can be a gradual or sudden decrease in your ability to hear. Depending on the cause and a wide range of factors, the hearing loss can be mild or severe and either temporary or permanent.
People born without hearing have what is known as congenital hearing loss. This page focuses on gradual hearing loss, which can affect people of all ages and happens gradually.
Some people have hearing loss but are not aware of it. This is especially prevalent in cases where the hearing loss happens over time. For some people, the realization of the onset of hearing loss happens when family members or friends notice the individual is struggling to understand where other have no issue.
There are many ways to deal with hearing loss depending on the cause and severity. Methods and treatments include using hearing aids or other devices that assist hearing function.
Vertigo and Balance Disorders
Vertigo occurs when there is an issue connecting the signals sent between the balance and position-sensing systems of the body and the brain. Your brain implements four sensory systems to keep you balanced and properly orientated to your surroundings.
Feeling lightheaded is a common occurrence that doesn’t always mean there is a serious issue. Brief and isolated instances of lightheadedness are fairly normal. Lightheadedness is often caused by a sudden but minor drop in blood pressure and blood flow through the body and to the head. This often occurs when you stand up too quickly. If the lightheadedness persists or is more common that you think it should be, that may be signal of a problem that needs treatment.
Dizziness is a word used to describe two very different feelings. When describing dizziness to your doctor, they may ask you for a more specific understanding of the symptom so they can narrow the list of possible issues.
Ringing in Ears (Tinnitus)
Occasional ringing (roaring, hissing, buzzing, ticking) in the ears is a symptom many people experience. In most cases, the sound only lasts a few minutes and goes away without you even noticing. Ringing in the ears that does not naturally dissipate is referred to as tinnitus. If you have tinnitus, you may hear a ringing or roaring noise that nobody else can hear. The sound is different for each patient, sometimes syncing up with your heartbeat or breathing, and for others it can come and go. Tinnitus is more common among men than women and is more prevalent in people 40 years old or more.
The middle ear, which is the small portion of the ear behind the eardrum, is susceptible to infection when exposed to germs from the nose and throat.
Small tubes called eustachian tubes connect your ear to your throat and certain things can cause these tubes to swell. When the eustachian tubes swell they can become blocked, trapping fluid inside the ear creating a perfect environment for germs to grow and cause an ear infection. Ear infections are more common among young children because the eustachian tubes are smaller and therefore blocked more easily.
Ear tubes are shaped like a hollow spool and are made of plastic. Ear tubes are often prescribed for children that have persistent ear infections or for patients where fluid often collects behind the eardrum. An otolaryngologist places the ear tubes in the eardrum through a small surgical opening in a procedure referred to as myringotomy or tympanostomy. These procedures occur under general anesthesia.
Earwax is a produced naturally and is there to protect the inner lining of the ear. It is a mixture of skin, sweat, hair, and other debris held together with a fluid secreted by glands inside the ear canal (ceruminous glands). Ear canals are self-cleaning and most earwax problems can be handled with home treatment. In some cases, tightly packed earwax will need to be removed by a physician.
For more information about Ear and Hearing treatments offered at Carolina ENT, contact us to schedule a consultation and we will assist you as soon as possible.