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Do You Have a Stubborn Loved One? Here’s How to Help Them Wear Hearing Aids

It probably is not news to you that some people can be very stubborn and set in their ways. This can be especially true of older people who do not want to wear hearing aids—and may not even want to acknowledge that they are experiencing hearing loss. If you have a loved one who needs hearing aids and is reluctant to do so, you are not alone.

Here are some simple tips you can use to help your loved one be more willing to wear their hearing aids:

  • Highlight the positives.

It can be easy to talk about the negative effects of hearing loss, like social isolation, loneliness, depression, anxiety, and more. But put yourself in your loved one’s shoes—would you like it if someone only discussed negative effects with you? This approach can seem very heavy-handed and can put your loved one on the defensive.

It can be much more persuasive to focus on the positive effects that hearing aids could bring to their life. Talk with your loved one about how they will be better able to enjoy music, hear the sounds of nature, communicate more easily with friends and family, and more.

  • Focus on the facts.

Instead of focusing on how hearing loss negatively impacts your loved one’s life (and your own), which can result in a very emotionally charged discussion, talk about the facts of hearing aids. Highlight features like Bluetooth connectivity, the ability to reduce background noise, and other impressive high-tech aspects of modern hearing aids.

  • Be gentle.

Take a soft approach to help your loved one wear hearing aids. Do not try to pressure them or guilt them into scheduling an appointment with an audiologist or hearing aid professional. Hearing loss can be a sensitive subject, so approach it with care. Try to understand your loved one’s feelings and work with them.

  • Address the cost.

One common concern among people who need hearing aids is the cost. Even if a person understands how hearing aids could positively affect their life, they may feel reluctant if they do not know how much they will be spending to get their hearing aids. Explain that hearing aids can range in price depending on the type and how high-tech they are. Your hearing aid professional can work with you and your loved one to find a solution that fits both their hearing needs and their budget.

  • Go with them.

Some people do not like to go to the doctor on their own. They might feel uncertain about going places alone with hearing loss because they might not hear a question from the staff, or they may feel nervous about discussing their health history. Offer to attend their appointment with them to assist them and offer emotional support.

  • Ask them why.

Your loved one might be feeling stubborn about wearing hearing aids for a reason that is completely different from what you assume! The best way to find out why they are being stubborn is to ask them. Be sure to make clear that you will not be judgmental or dismissive of their concerns. Listen attentively and respond with care to address their worries.

If you would like more ideas on how you can help your loved one wear hearing aids, or if you need to schedule an appointment, please contact our hearing professional today. We are eager to care for you.

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How Does Hearing Loss Affect Men and Women Differently?

Hearing loss doesn’t discriminate—it can affect anyone of any age or any race. But does hearing loss affect men and women equally? According to the latest research and surveys, yes. This data shows that more men than women are affected by hearing loss—with rates of hearing loss being nearly twice as high in men than in women.

Although no one knows all of the reasons why men experience hearing loss more frequently than women, audiologists have hypothesized a few explanations for this difference. Here are some reasons men may experience hearing loss more than women:

  • Workplace noise

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a common type of hearing loss. One study found that men may experience NIHL at nearly three times the rate of women. Experts suggest this difference may be tied to workplace noise.

While careers and industries of all types are open to both men and women, some careers are male-dominated. These include several types of jobs that may have high levels of noise, such as military careers, construction sites, factory or manufacturing work, farming, flight crew, or emergency workers and first responders like policemen, firemen, and ambulance drivers.

  • Medication use

Certain medications, known as ototoxic medications, are known to cause hearing loss. It is believed that men use ototoxic medications at a higher rate than women, which exposes them to a higher risk of hearing loss. Ototoxic medications include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, certain antibiotics, certain cancer drugs, and more.

  • Seeking help

Although men appear to experience hearing loss at a greater rate than women, both genders suffer from hearing loss. Another difference exists, however, in how men and women handle hearing loss. Women are more likely than men to seek professional care for their hearing loss.

In addition, women are often more willing to admit to their friends and family that they suffer from hearing loss. This can lead to better hearing solutions for living with hearing loss day-to-day, such as choosing restaurants with lower noise levels, friends and family speaking more clearly, and other accommodations for the person with hearing loss. Because women are more likely to seek treatment and ask for help, they typically experience fewer negative social effects and have a higher quality of life.

  • Differences in hearing loss

Another difference between men and women who experience hearing loss is how the hearing loss manifests itself. Men are more likely to lose the ability to hear higher frequencies first, while women are more likely to have difficulty hearing lower frequencies. While both of these issues can cause long-term problems, men may experience more negative social effects because they can hear fewer high-frequency sounds, including higher-pitched voices.

So, what does this mean for you? If you work in a noisy environment, be sure to use appropriate ear protection to avoid hearing loss. If you use ototoxic medications, speak to your doctor about whether another medication option is available that will not endanger your hearing. Men can also learn to better recognize the symptoms of hearing loss and seek professional treatment when necessary.

To learn more about how men and women experience hearing loss differently, we invite you to contact our hearing professional today.

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Is There A Connection Between Hearing Health And Heart Health Yes!

You may have heard the phrase, “Nothing happens in a vacuum,” before. But have you heard the entire quote? In full, the quote from Khaled Hosseini says, “Nothing happens in a vacuum in life: every action has a series of consequences, and sometimes it takes a long time to fully understand the consequences of our actions.” This thought applies to just about every action and choice in life—where you decide to go to school, who you choose as your friends, who you choose as your partner, and what you do at work every day.

However, have you ever applied this idea to your health? It remains true even there. Every part of your body and its health affects the rest of your body and your overall health. For example, if you injure your knee, you might not be able to run or cycle for a period of time. Without regular cardio exercise, you might gain weight. If it goes on long enough, this may even cause a decline in your cardiovascular health. In addition, if you favor one leg due to the injury, the other may develop additional strength to compensate for the weakness. A knee injury affects much more than only your knee.

All of that seems pretty easy to understand. What about when the link seems a little more complicated? At first glance, that may be the case when you hear that heart health and hearing health are connected. How could your heart affect how well you hear?

According to the latest research, it may all come down to blood flow. If your arteries are stiffened or narrowed (a condition called arteriosclerosis) due to high cholesterol, your blood flow will be constricted. High blood pressure (hypertension) can also damage blood vessels. Your hearing health also depends on blood flow. The delicate hair cells in the cochlea play an essential role in translating the noises your ears collect into electrical impulses that your brain can interpret as recognizable sounds. These hair cells depend on good circulation. Poor circulation can deprive these hair cells of the necessary oxygen, which leads to damage or destruction. Since these hair cells do not regenerate, the hearing damage is permanent.

Studies have confirmed that cardiovascular health is connected to hearing health. A study published in 2010 followed participants for 60 years. The findings showed that impaired cardiovascular health negatively impacts both the central and peripheral auditory systems, especially in older adults. Another analysis, published in 2017, found that cardiovascular disease and its risk factors (like high blood pressure) are associated with an increased risk of hearing loss.

Fortunately, studies have found some good news, too. Although sensorineural hearing loss is permanent, you may be able to preserve your remaining hearing through exercise, which can improve your cardiovascular health. A 2009 study conducted at Miami University discovered that participants with higher cardiovascular fitness levels (assessed by riding a stationary bicycle) had better hearing, particularly among those 50 and older. In 2017, a larger study found that people who were more physically active showed lower triglyceride levels. Since high triglyceride levels are associated with hearing loss, this is good news for those participants’ hearing health.

So, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your hearing health is only affected by noise levels or other factors that may seem obvious. The truth is that your heart health impacts your hearing health, too. Adopting an exercise routine could improve both! To learn more about how you can protect your hearing health as well as your cardiovascular health, and for more information about how the two are connected, we invite you to contact our hearing practice today.

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Face Coverings Highlight Hearing Loss

The COVID-19 pandemic has given us all a new accessory to wear out in public: the face mask. Some people see the face mask as simply a tool to help prevent the spread of the virus. Others see it as a fashionable accessory that can be personalized to their tastes. And for some people, wearing a face covering has made hearing problems more obvious.

According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, approximately 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. However, people with hearing loss wait an average of 7 years before seeking professional help. Many of these people use lip and speech reading to help them understand any words or phrases they could not hear well. They could also use facial expressions and cues to pick up on the overall message of the speaker. In short, these people with hearing loss would adapt as best they could until the problem became severe enough that they had no other option than to seek help.

In the age of COVID, however, people living with hearing loss can no longer rely on lip and speech reading or visual cues; these are all hidden by face coverings. Even transparent face masks can pose some degree of difficulty for those who read lips. In addition, wearing a face mask tends to muffle the volume of sound and affect the pitch range of speech, making it even more difficult for someone with hearing loss to understand what is being said.

While those with mild to moderate hearing loss could have hidden or ignored their condition for a period of time prior to COVID, in today’s environment, they can no longer “get by” with adaptations. Audiologists around the world have seen an increase in patient visits as people with hearing loss come to the realization that they must seek help in order to function in a world where everyone wears a face mask.

Even people who have previously sought professional help and now use hearing aids have found that they need additional help at this time. Hearing aid professionals have noted that many people who use hearing aids have come in for adjustments so they can better hear and understand people who speak while wearing a face mask. While they may have previously thought that their hearing aids worked well enough, the challenges posed by face masks have highlighted areas for improvement.

If you suspect that you may have hearing loss, or if you have noticed increasing difficulty in understanding speech when people are wearing face masks, we encourage you to visit your hearing healthcare professional. A simple hearing evaluation can determine whether you have hearing loss, and your hearing professional can recommend the treatment that is best for your specific needs and preferences.

If you already use hearing aids and still experience difficulty hearing while using a face mask, you can also benefit from speaking with a hearing aid professional. To learn more about how we can help you hear better, we invite you to contact our office today.

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Smartphone Apps That Support Hearing Aids— How To Know Which Ones Work Well

Have you ever heard the phrase, “There’s an app for that”? While this phrase was first used over a decade ago (Apple began using this slogan in their advertising in 2009), it has never been truer than it is now. You can download an app to your smartphone to do just about anything you want—to check the news, keep you updated on the weather in your area, chat with people halfway around the world, remind you to drink more water, do your banking right from your phone, keep an online journal, and much, much more.

So, what about when it comes to your hearing aids? Yes, there’s an app for that, too. There are, in fact, numerous smartphone apps now available that support hearing aids. How do you know which ones work well? Here are a few key features you might want to look for when you are considering apps to support your hearing aids:

  • Apps created by hearing aid manufacturers

Many hearing aid manufacturers now have their own apps. The app created by the manufacturer of your particular hearing aids might be one of the best for you to use. These apps are typically custom made to work seamlessly with your specific hearing aids. So, if you are new to using a smartphone app with your hearing aids, start by downloading and exploring the app made by your hearing aid manufacturer.

  • Adjust your hearing aids

If you wear hearing aids, chances are good that you’ve been in a situation before where your hearing aid settings weren’t quite right. An app allows you to adjust the treble, bass, volume, and other sound settings right from your phone. Not only is this incredibly simple, but it can also be more discreet than reaching up your ears to adjust your hearing aids.

  • Battery life notifications

Choosing an app that notifies you when your hearing aid batteries are low can allow you to recharge or replace the batteries before they die.

  • Direct audio connection

Using Bluetooth, apps allow your hearing aids to connect directly to audio. This means music, podcasts, TV shows, and more can stream directly to your hearing aids.

  • Custom hearing programs

As mentioned above, your hearing aids might need to be adjusted for certain settings. For example, maybe you always find it challenging to hear well when you go to a particular restaurant. Using your app, you can create a custom hearing program that you specify to this setting, and then you can save the program to use again when you visit in the future. The app may also save the information so you can share it with your audiologist, which can help them better understand the settings that offer challenges.

  • Statistics and location

An app can offer statistics regarding your hearing aids, such as how many hours you wore them per day, week, or month. The app may also track the location of your hearing aids, which can be helpful if you misplace your devices.

  • Hearing aid manual and instructions

One of the benefits of using an app created by the hearing aid manufacturer is the availability of the manual and instructions for your particular device. This might be especially helpful if your hearing aids are new to you. Plus, it is certainly more convenient to access the manual via your smartphone than to carry the manual around with you!

  • Communication with your hearing aid specialist

For almost a year now, many audiology practices have limited in-office appointments. Even if you cannot see your hearing care professional in person, or if you want to avoid the health risks of doing so, you can communicate with them via your hearing aid app. These apps allow your hearing healthcare specialist to conduct a hearing test, adjust your hearing aids, fit the hearing aid, and much more.

It may be hard to believe at first, but some hearing aid apps offer even more features than these! To learn more about how an app can help you control your hearing aids, we welcome you to contact our hearing care practice today.

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Hearing Aid Use in the U.S.—Increasing or Decreasing?

If you or a loved one uses hearing aids, you know that these devices can make a huge difference in your daily life. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, not everyone who has hearing loss wears hearing aids. A new study has found some changes in the percentage of Americans who use hearing aids, and it’s a case of good news and bad news.

The study, which was published in the medical journal JAMA: Internal Medicine in December 2020, tracked hearing aid use among older American adults from 2011 to 2018. The overarching good news that was uncovered in this research is that hearing aid use among older American adults is increasing. Between 2011 and 2018, hearing aid use among a representative sample of American adults over the age of 70 increased from 15 percent to 18.5 percent.

While it is great news that overall hearing aid use is increasing, there was bad news as well. Hearing aid use did not increase as dramatically for older Black Americans—only a +0.8 percent change in seven years. Furthermore, hearing aid use did not increase at all among older adults living at less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level. In fact, hearing aid ownership actually dropped during this period from 12.4 percent to 10.8 percent. While this study did not look particularly at hearing aid use among older Hispanic Americans, other studies have found a similar disparity in hearing care.

There are several possible reasons for the disparity among minorities and lower-income adults. Systemic problems in healthcare lead to fewer minorities and low-income individuals having access to the care they need, including audiology and hearing loss services. When they do receive care, it is often delayed.

Even if these individuals have Medicaid or Medicare, they may not have access to the hearing healthcare they need. Medicaid hearing care depends on each state’s guidelines, while Medicare only partly covers hearing care. For many people in these minority and low-income groups, preventive care is limited or nonexistent. Hearing loss may go undiagnosed, and treatment may be out of reach due to cost and access. Stigma may also play a role among the percentage of the population who have hearing loss but do not use hearing aids.

For those with hearing loss (whether or not it has been diagnosed) who do not use hearing aids, the consequences can extend far beyond simply not being able to hear as well. Research has shown that untreated hearing loss is linked to an increased risk of depressionsocial isolationanxietyfallsdementia, and auditory processing problems. Because of the hearing loss treatment gap among minorities, experts expect dementia rates to increase disproportionately in minorities in the coming years.

What can be done to remedy this situation? First, be sure to have your hearing tested and follow your hearing specialist’s recommendations for treatment, including using hearing aids. If you have a loved one who you suspect may have untreated hearing loss, encourage them to have their hearing tested as well. Second, you can be part of ending the stigma surrounding hearing aid use. Never make fun of someone for using hearing aids or having a hearing loss. Instead, offer support and encouragement for seeking treatment.

Researchers are optimistic that a federal law passed in 2017 (that may go into effect in 2021) may help. This federal law makes hearing aids available over-the-counter, which could help many Americans gain access to hearing aids.

To learn more about hearing aid use in the United States or to schedule your appointment with our hearing specialist, we invite you to contact our practice today. We are here to assist you.

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The Challenges of Having Hearing Loss During a Pandemic

It’s an understatement to say that things look a bit different as we begin 2021 than they did in 2020. Many people’s lives have changed in a big way as a result of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, and even if your life hasn’t undergone a significant change, you can probably see a difference in your day-to-day activities. You may be working or attending school online instead of in person. You may not be seeing your friends and family as regularly as you once did. You might be getting food and grocery delivery more frequently. And when you go into a public space, you are likely wearing a face mask.

All of these parts of our lives have changed in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. While they are important steps for protecting the health of both yourself and others, they are not without their own challenges. If you have hearing loss, wearing a face mask can present frustrations you have not experienced before. Here are a few tips for navigating hearing loss during the pandemic:

You May Have Hearing Loss

  • Since the public began wearing cloth face coverings, have you experienced more difficulty understanding speech?
  • Do you often need to ask people to repeat themselves, especially if they are wearing a face mask?
  • Do you need to turn up the volume on the TV or radio?

If so, you may have hearing loss. Speaking with people who are wearing face masks has highlighted this for many people who did not previously realize they had hearing loss. This is because wearing a face mask can affect the volume and clarity of speech. In addition, you can no longer rely on lip-reading or facial expressions to help you understand what is said.

If you believe you might have hearing loss, we encourage you to contact our hearing health professional today. We can provide you with a hearing test and help you find the solutions you need.

When You Have Hearing Loss

If you already know that you have hearing loss, you may still be experiencing new challenges during the pandemic. One new frustration may be wearing a face mask while also wearing hearing aids. The ear loops on the face mask might catch on your hearing aids, which can pull on your hearing aids. This might be even more challenging if you wear eyeglasses as well. Here are a few tips to make it easier:

  • Slowly and carefully remove your face mask. This can help prevent it from yanking out your hearing aids.
  • Consider using a face mask with fabric ties instead of elastic ear loops.
  • If you do wear a face covering with ear loops, try using a mask holder or one of these other solutions to prevent the loops from interfering with your hearing aids.

If you wear hearing aids and have found yourself having difficulty understanding people when they speak while wearing a face mask, talk to your hearing aid professional. Your hearing aids might need to be adjusted to accommodate for the muffling effects of the face covering.

To learn more about how to manage hearing loss during the coronavirus pandemic, we invite you to contact our hearing healthcare office today. We look forward to caring for you.

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It’s Time To Be Proactive About Hearing Loss!

It’s no secret that 2020 was a difficult year for many people. You may be bidding 2020 not only good-bye but good riddance! So, with hopes for a better year in 2021, you may have set some New Year’s resolutions—or maybe you simply defined a few priorities in your life to focus on this year. Is your health one of them?

Your health might seem like an obvious priority (especially during a pandemic!). But while you resolve to take steps to protect yourself from COVID-19, get a regular annual checkup, eat healthier, or maintain a healthy weight, you shouldn’t neglect your hearing health.

Be honest: When was the last time you had your hearing checked? A Consumer Reports survey of more than 120,000 people found that nearly 30 percent of those surveyed had either gone more than a decade without having their hearing tested or had never had it tested. How often should you have your hearing tested? That depends on your age. Experts recommend that until the age of 50, you have your hearing checked once a decade. After the age of 50, you should have your hearing tested once every three years.

Your hearing health is too important to neglect (especially when hearing tests are painless and usually only take about 30 minutes!). Being proactive about your hearing health can pay off in big ways, both now and in the future. Good hearing health can:

  • Improve your relationships with your spouse, family members, and friends as you are able to better hear and understand them
  • Keep you safe as you will be able to hear fire alarms, sirens, safety warnings, and hazards like oncoming traffic
  • Enable you to hear the sounds you love, such as music and nature sounds
  • Give you increased confidence to interact with others and attend social events, even in noisy atmospheres
  • Remove the uncertainty of wondering whether you have hearing loss and how it can be treated

Hearing evaluations are excellent resources. While the tests are quick and painless, they can provide immeasurable value. Your hearing healthcare provider will administer the test and then review the results with you. If you have hearing loss, they will also discuss options with you for treating your hearing loss, such as hearing aids. This ensures that you receive the care and solutions you need. In some cases, hearing loss is a symptom of another health condition that can then be diagnosed and treated, such as infection, impacted earwax, kidney disease, heart disease, or diabetes.

In addition to restoring your ability to hear and understand your loved ones, diagnosing and treating hearing loss can also have a tremendous impact on your overall health. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to a greater risk for depression, anxiety, dementia, social isolation, and falls. You can reduce your risk for all of these serious conditions by simply having your hearing tested and treating any hearing loss.

To learn more about the importance of being proactive about hearing loss, we invite you to contact our hearing health professional today.

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The Use Of Biomarkers To Detect Hidden Hearing Loss

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A new study may help to explain why people with normal hearing struggle to follow conversations in noisy environments. Researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear are determining that a pair of biomarkers of brain function may hold the answer. The two biomarkers, one for listening effort and the other which measures the ability to process rapid changes in frequencies, can explain why a person with normal hearing may have trouble following conversations in loud places. These conclusions might pave the way for the design of next-generation clinical testing for hidden hearing loss.  

Hearing Loss 

Noise, aging, and other factors cause hearing loss, which affects 48 million Americans. Hearing loss arises from damage to the sensory cells of the inner ear, the cochlea. The cochlea converts sounds into electrical signals for the brain. A diagnosis of hearing loss is by elevation in the faintest sound level required to hear a brief tone. The level appears on an audiogram, which is the gold standard of hearing testing.  

Hidden Hearing Loss 

Hidden hearing loss is a loss of hearing that standard hearing tests can’t calculate. Typically, the first step in measuring hearing loss is using an audiogram. Unfortunately, for people with hidden hearing loss, the audiogram reads just like someone with normal hearing. Hidden hearing loss arises from abnormal connectivity and communication of nerve cells in the brain and ear, not in the sensory cells that convert sound waves into electrochemical signals.  

The Study 

The study developed from a desire to create new methods of hearing testing. The world we live in is getting noisier all of the time, and people are reporting hearing problems earlier in life. People are having particular difficulty hearing conversations in the workplace and social settings. The current testing available can’t detect the problem. This lack of testing is driving the researchers to develop new ways of hearing testing.  

Biomarkers 

To address hidden hearing loss, the researchers are developing objective biomarkers that may explain the hidden hearing loss complaints. The research team developed two sets of tests. One measured electrical EEG signals from the surface of the ear canal to detect how well the early stages of sound processing in the brain were encoding fluctuations in sound waves. The other used specialized glasses to measure changes in pupil diameter when test subjects focused their attention on one speaker.  

Twenty-three subjects with clinically normal hearing underwent the tests, and their ability to follow conversations varied. By combining the measures, the investigators could identify which subjects struggled and which ones passed the test. Encouraged by the results, the researchers believe that testing must go beyond the first stages of hearing and directly measure auditory processing in the brain. 

Hearing Test 

If you are having difficulty hearing conversations in noisy places, you might be experiencing the beginning stages of hearing loss. Plan a hearing evaluation with a hearing healthcare professional who can diagnose and treat your hearing loss in its early stages.

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4 Unusual Causes of Hearing Loss

When we think about the causes of hearing loss, we often think of common causes like aging or noise-induced hearing loss. A variety of conditions, injuries, and occurrences can lead to hearing loss, but some are very rare. While rare, they do occur and are a reality for some people. 

 Here are four of the most unusual and uncommon causes of hearing loss: 

  • Meniere’s disease 

Meniere’s disease can lead to vertigo, fluctuating hearing loss, tinnitus, and a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear. In most cases, this condition affects only one ear. While the cause of Meniere’s disease is unknown, some hearing professionals believe it is caused by an abnormal amount of fluid in the ear. 

 Also called endolymphatic hydrops, Meniere’s disease usually appears between young and middle-aged adulthood, around the ages of 20-50 years. While it is considered a chronic condition, certain treatments can ease the symptoms. Medication for motion sickness or nausea can help. Other possible treatments include the use of hearing aids, vestibular rehabilitation to improve balance, and the use of a Meniett pulse generator, which applies pulses of pressure to the ear canal through a tube. 

  • Superior semicircular canal dehiscence syndrome (SCDS) 

This disorder occurs when a very small hole forms in a bone of the inner ear. SCDS can cause symptoms like nausea, vertigo, and extreme sensitivity to sound. Patients even report being distracted by the sound of their own pulse.  

 To verify that SCDS is the cause of the symptoms, your medical professional will likely request a CT scan of the inner ear. If it is found that an opening in the temporal bone is present, surgery can be conducted to correct the condition. 

  • Cholesteatoma 

A cholesteatoma is a cyst-like growth that develops in the inner ear. While the growth isn’t malignant, it can lead to permanent hearing loss and other serious conditions, like meningitis, if left untreated. In addition to hearing loss, symptoms may include a smelly discharge. 

There are two types of cholesteatoma: congenital and acquired. Congenital cholesteatoma is present at birth and typically grows behind the eardrum. Acquired cholesteatoma usually occurs during adulthood and is most common in those with recurring ear infections. 

In most cases, the cholesteatoma can be removed through surgery. If left untreated, the cholesteatoma can continue to grow and eventually cause permanent damage to the inner ear. This may result in balance problems, dizziness, or interference with facial nerves and muscles. Cholesteatoma are also often infected, and the toxicity can spread to other areas, leading to meningitis or brain abscesses in extreme cases. 

  • Autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED) 

AIED is caused by antibodies or immune cells attacking the inner ear. Symptoms may include progressive hearing loss and dizziness. 

At this time, AIED is considered a chronic, incurable condition. It can cause permanent damage to hearing and balance. Fortunately, the symptoms can be managed through the use of steroids and other medications, cochlear implant surgery, or cell and gene therapy. 

If you would like to learn more about these rare causes of hearing loss, or if you suspect that you are experiencing hearing loss, we encourage you to contact our hearing professional today.