Jeff Petrosky, H.I.S. Clinic Director
13103 FM 1960 West, Suite 205
Houston, TX 77065
10 Warning Signs of Hearing Loss
If you experience these warning signs repeatedly or in combination, they may indicate a hearing loss.
1. People seem to mumble more frequently.
2. You experience ringing in your ears.
3. You often ask people to repeat themselves.
4. Your family complains that you play the radio or TV too loudly.
5. You no longer hear normal household sounds, such as the dripping of a faucet or the ringing of a
6. You have difficulty understanding a conversation when in a large group or crowd.
7. You have trouble understanding all the words in a conversation.
8. You find telephone conversation increasingly difficult.
9. You have trouble hearing when your back is turned to the speaker.
10. You have been told you speak too loudly.
Who has a Hearing Loss?
If you have a hearing loss, you are not alone.
1 in 10 Americans have a hearing loss - more than 31,000,000 people.
29% of people over age 65 have a hearing loss.
3 in 10 people over 60 have hearing problems.
60% - the majority of people with hearing loss are male.
1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 41-59) have hearing problems.
65% of people with hearing loss are below retirement age.
Types and Causes of Hearing Loss
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss is often temporary and can often be corrected. Conductive loss stems from problems of
the outer or middle ear and can be caused by:
• Build-up of wax or fluid
• Punctured eardrum
This type of hearing loss can be treated with wax removal, medicine or surgery.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss. In fact, it accounts for 90% of all adult
hearing problems and is caused by aging and noise. With sensorineural loss:
• There are problems with the cochlea and the auditory nerve.
• Sounds not only diminish in volume, but become distorted.
• High frequency sounds and some spoken words are first to go.
• Low frequency sounds, such as vowels, are heard better.
This type of hearing loss can be treated with amplification (hearing instruments) and, occasionally, surgery. For
more information about surgical procedures, consult a physician.
Mixed Hearing Loss
Mixed hearing loss is a hearing loss where both conductive and sensorineural losses occur at the same time.
Temporary Hearing Loss
There are times where hearing loss is temporary. If you have trouble hearing clearly, don't worry. You might
not have a permanent hearing loss at all. Temporary hearing loss is common and can be caused by any of the
• Too much earwax
• Sinus problems
• Ear infections
Hearing With Both Ears: Treatment For Hearing Loss
Binaural hearing allows you to make fine judgments about sound and to listen selectively to one of several
sounds. Most experts agree that because gradual hearing loss typically occurs in both ears, it makes sense to fit
both ears with hearing instruments.
Think of it this way - to correct a vision problem in both eyes, would you wear eyeglasses with only one lens?
Advantages of wearing two hearing instruments include:
• Localized sound
The ability to detect the direction and distance of sound can only be achieved with two ears.
• Balanced hearing
Hearing with two ears will help you more accurately respond to sounds, like conversation on your left or
• Better speech comprehension
Balanced hearing with both ears may improve your ability to understand speech, both in background
noise and in quiet situations.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the name for the perception of sounds such as ringing, buzzing or hissing when these sounds are not
present in the environment. In the United States, an estimated 50 million people experience tinnitus and nearly
12 million people a year seek medical advice.
What causes it?
The onset of tinnitus is often related to exposure to loud sounds, which can cause damage to the sensory cells of
the inner ear. It has also been associated with excessive ear wax, ear infections, high blood pressure, the aging
process, and sensory nerve disorders. Activities which can cause tinnitus include drinking alcohol or caffeine,
taking aspirin or antibiotics, and cigarette smoking.
What can you do?
If you have, or suspect you have, tinnitus, you should be evaluated to determine what options are available for
managing it. When it is determined that there are no specific medical issues involved, there are several options
In the majority of cases, the individual experiencing tinnitus also has a hearing loss. The use of a hearing aid to
amplify sounds can help cover up the tinnitus and make it less distracting. Other devices are also available that
generate sounds to help mask the tinnitus. Combined with counseling from a hearing professional, these devices
can be used to teach the individual how to reduce or remove the distraction of the tinnitus.
Your attention being drawn to a candle in a dark room is similar to the way a person can end up focusing on
By turning on the light, the candle is no longer the focus. In a similar way, the sound generator of the Beltone
Tinnitus Breaker™ helps decrease your focus on tinnitus.
Beltone offers hearing instruments that can be used as both a hearing aid and sound generator for managing
tinnitus. The Tinnitus Breaker™ feature of the Beltone Reach™ hearing instrument produces white noise, a low
volume noise of mixed frequencies that makes the distressing tinnitus noise less noticeable. As the brain adjusts
to this new way of perceiving sounds, the emotional importance associated with the tinnitus is reduced.
Common Questions About Hearing Loss
Q: Am I at risk for a hearing loss?
A: You could be at risk if you work or spend a lot of time around noise without protecting your ears.
Professions at risk may include: musicians, construction workers, military personnel, firefighters and police
Q: What causes hearing loss?
A: Hearing loss can be caused by a number of factors – the aging process, heredity, disease, noise and build-up
of earwax, among others.
Q: Can noise really hurt my ears?
A: Yes, noise can be dangerous. If it is loud enough and lasts long enough, it can damage your hearing.
Q: How do I know if I have a hearing loss?
If you experience a number of warning signs or if people often tell you that you’re not hearing well, you may
have a hearing loss.
Q: If I suspect I have a hearing loss, what should I do?
A: The best thing to do is make an appointment for a hearing screening with a licensed Beltone hearing care
professional. The screening will tell you what you’re hearing and what you could be missing.
Q: What should I expect when I get my hearing tested?
A: Your Beltone hearing care professional will first ask you about your lifestyle and hearing needs. You will
then be given a comprehensive hearing screening, a video ear exam and a word discrimination test. These will
explain whether or not you have a hearing loss and will help direct what next steps need to be taken.
Q: How will I know what hearing aids are right for me?
A: Your Beltone hearing care professional will make the best recommendation for you based on your lifestyle,
hearing loss and budget.
Q: How much do hearing instruments cost?
A: The price of hearing instruments varies depending on style and technology selected.
Q: Can I try a hearing aid before I buy?
A: Yes. Beltone offers you the opportunity to “test drive” a hearing aid to see what it sounds like in a variety of
listening situations…before you leave the office.
Q: Do hearing aids really help reduce background noise?
A: Yes. Many of today’s instruments use directionality and noise reduction features to help you hear better in
Q: What is digital technology?
A: Digital hearing aids convert sound received by the hearing aid's microphone from an analog to a digital
signal. This allows the hearing instrument to produce the exact requirements for a particular hearing loss;
always keeping the loudness at a comfortable level. It also allows for advanced noise reduction features that
distinguish between speech and non-speech signals and automatically decrease loudness of those non-speech
signals, if needed.
Analog hearing aids, by contrast, are unable to automatically adjust for different loudness requirements outside
of increasing or decreasing the volume control. As a result, many analog users complain of having to constantly
adjust their volume controls in order to hear speech adequately in different environments.
Q: What is open fit technology?
A: Open fit hearing aids are designed for cosmetic appeal, comfortable fit and natural sound quality. They do
not give the wearer a “plugged up” sensation or distort your own voice.