Hearing for the Holidays

The holiday season is here! If you have difficulty hearing, you may not be looking forward to holiday gatherings and parties as much as you used to. This time of year can bring up some anxiety for people who have hearing loss. You or your loved ones may worry about how well you can communicate during family gatherings, or you may fear being embarrassed when you don’t hear conversation correctly. Background noise and group situations require your constant attention, and this can be tiring and overwhelming.

It may be enough for you to want to opt out of holiday festivities altogether. But don’t miss out on all of the fun! There are a few simple things you can do to get the most out of your holidays, even if you have difficulty hearing.

Let the Host Know

Before the party even begins, let the host of the party know you find it harder to hear in group situations and in background noise. Let them know that you are a bit self-conscious and you just want them to be aware of your hearing issues. That way, they can help facilitate a better experience for you by giving you particular seats at the dinner table, for example.

Ask for Brighter Lights and Lowered Background Music

Holiday gatherings, particularly at night, may have low lights and background music that can make it difficult for you to hear or communicate. Suggest that the host brighten the atmosphere and turn down the music a bit. This will make communication easier for everyone at the party, not just for you.

Keep it Separated

If there are a few different things going on at the gathering, suggest they all be sectioned off into different areas of the space. For example, karaoke in one room, the meal or buffet in another room, dancing in another room, and games in a different room. This will keep the background noise to a minimum and help to preserve your sanity when trying to interact at the party.

Stay Engaged, and Take a Break When you Need It

Communication may be a bigger effort for you than it used to be, so if you feel overwhelmed or fatigued, don’t be afraid to separate yourself to a quiet place for a break. That way when you do engage with others you will feel refreshed and won’t get irritable.

Keep Communication in Mind

If you want to be included in the conversation, you need to be able to hear what is going on. Ask if you can be seated in the middle of the table instead of on the end (even though often the end is dedicated as a place of honor) so you can be included in the conversation.

If you keep communication in mind and involve your host, you will have a much better experience and don’t have to worry about going to gatherings this holiday season.

Schedule a Tune Up

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for your annual hearing evaluation and, if you wear hearing devices, to make sure they are working at their best. If your devices have older technology, this may be a good time to test drive something new. Ask us about trying a set of demos during the holidays. You might just be amazed at how well you can hear.

DIFFERENT WAYS TO TEST FOR HEARING LOSS

If you suspect you may have hearing loss, it is recommended that you be tested to confirm if you have hearing loss, and how advanced it is.

If you have never had a hearing evaluation done before, you may be wondering what is involved. There are several ways to test for hearing loss, so we will go through a brief overview of them here. Not to worry: all methods are quick, easy and painless!

Simple Audible Tests

A test that is quick and easy is the whisper test: your doctor may ask you to cover one ear and whisper near the other ear to determine if you have hearing in that ear. Though it is not incredibly accurate, it can give the doctor a good idea of where to begin with other tests.

Get a Physical Exam

Your general physician may offer a hearing screening as part of your health check-up. This evaluation may include a physical examination: looking in your ear for inflammation, excessive ear wax or even structural problems that can lead to hearing loss.

Tuning Forks

Tuning forks are metal forks that produce a tune when they are hit together. Doctors can use tuning forks to do a quick test of hearing loss overall and where the damage has occurred.

Audiometer

An audiologist may also use an audiometer, which is a more accurate and thorough way to test hearing ability. During this test, you will be asked to wear headphones, with sounds isolated to one ear or the other. The sound will be repeated at different volume levels to test which you can hear.

Treatment for temporary hearing loss will depend on the source of the hearing loss. If you have a physical blockage, for example, like ear wax or a structural issue with your ear, the doctor may be able to remove or remedy it. For more severe structural issues surgery may help to correct the problem and restore normal hearing.

Cochlear implants may be another option if parts of the inner ear are not working correctly. Your doctor can explain this option, as well as its risks and benefits, if it is necessary for you.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening. We can discuss hearing aid options with you and work with you to find one that fits your budget.

HYPERACUSIS: WHAT IS IT AND WHAT CAN I DO?

Hyperacusis is a condition in which a person has a heightened sensitivity to noises within the normal range of volume and pitch. It can get to the point that certain normal noises (like a dog barking or music over a loudspeaker) can even cause pain.

As you can imagine, this can make it very difficult for an affected person to live a normal life: limiting activities and events.

Hyperacusis can progress from tinnitus or a sense of discomfort in one or both ears. As it develops, the sufferer becomes more and more sensitive to ambient sounds and background noise.

Because of their intolerance for noise, hyperacusis sufferers may become isolated, depressed, or angry. They may also show signs of being anxious, like mood swings, sweating and a pounding heart.

What Causes Hyperacusis?

No one yet knows for sure what causes hyperacusis, but it has been found to be highly correlated with tinnitus—in fact, about 50% of people who suffer from tinnitus progress to some level of hyperacusis. However, not everyone who develops hyperacusis ever had tinnitus. There are other possible links to birth defects, auto-immune disorders or autism, which have not been confirmed.

The most commonly-believed cause of hyperacusis is physical trauma, such as a sports injury, car accident or any other shock to the nervous system.

How Can Hyperacusis be Treated?

Though hyperacusis does not yet have a cure, there are a range of treatment options that can make it manageable.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) help patients to engage with the ways they experience noise and pain, go through sound therapy, and help them to avoid stressful situations.

Noise Desensitization is another option when Cognitive Behavioral Therapy does not produce the desired results. Noise desensitization utilizes noise generators in controlled environment that help to change the way people perceive noise.

Patients may also have sessions in which they deal with the depression and distress that noise sensitivity can cause. These sessions may include relaxation techniques and counseling. These sessions can teach them how to manage the sensitivities and their response to it so they can avoid social isolation.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening. We can discuss hearing aid options with you and work with you to find one that fits your budget.

BALANCE AND HEARING HEALTH

Did you know the way your body balances is connected with hearing health?

Balance disorders such as Vertigo are fairly common. Vertigo is typically temporary episode of imbalance or dizziness. Most people have heard that it is related to your inner ear, but do you know how?

Our bodies are oriented and balanced through the vestibular system, which allows us to stay upright without falling. Our inner ears and our eyes are sensory systems that support the body’s equilibrium and orientation. They translate and connect what is going on around us with our brains.  

The fluids in our inner ears are affected by hearing loss and also by sicknesses such as upper respiratory infections. These fluids control our sense of balance. This is why balance issues can result from hearing loss.

Balance issues can cause all kinds of problems, from increasing the risk of injury from falling, to embarrassment in public.

So how can you decrease your risk of vertigo and other balance problems?

1.    Pay attention to how your medications make you feel. If you always feel dizzy or very lethargic when taking a certain medication, talk to you doctor about other options.

2.    Get annual hearing exams. This is the best way to measure any hearing loss that has already occurred and make a plan to prevent further damage.

3.    If you need hearing aids, get them! They are an investment into not only your hearing, but your balance, your social life and your enjoyment of entertainment!

4.    Move every day. Daily exercise, such as regular walks or going to the gym are so important! Not only will these activities increase circulation and improve balance, it helps to regulate other bodily fluids like inner ear fluid too.

5.    Check your eyes too. When you get your yearly check-up, get a vision check. Poor vision can also increase the risk of balance issues.

Every part of our bodies are connected, and each part influences the others. Your overall health is impacted by your hearing health, so take care of it!

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening. We can discuss hearing aid options with you and work with you to find one that fits your budget.

DO I HAVE TINNITUS?

Have you ever heard a ringing in your ears? If so, you have experienced tinnitus. Tinnitus can be annoying, inconvenient, or even painful for the many people who suffer from it. Interestingly, some people never really notice symptoms of tinnitus, even though they are experiencing it. Recent research indicates that people have varying experiences of tinnitus, and these symptoms originate in the brain, not the ears.

A study done at the University of Illinois found that the brains of people with tinnitus hear sounds differently than those who don’t have tinnitus. Even among tinnitus sufferers, there are differences the way peoples’ brains process sound.

What Exactly is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is actually just a symptom (not a disorder or disease). There are a lot of different causes of tinnitus, like noise exposure or use of ototoxic medications (medications that cause hearing loss). Approximately 25 million people across America are affected by tinnitus. There is no cure for tinnitus, and it is often temporary. It’s important to understand how to manage it and lessen its effects, or if possible, prevent it entirely.

Tinnitus Can be Affected by Your Feelings

Recent studies have found that the brain’s blood oxygen levels can change when exposed to different types of noise. Researchers discovered differences in the way tinnitus sufferer’s brains processed sound compared with non-tinnitus sufferers. “Good” sounds, like laughter, were presented, along with “neutral” and “unpleasant” sounds.

The Brain and Emotions

People with tinnitus engage with sounds differently in their brains, which can trigger emotion. Not so with people without tinnitus. The study also found that tinnitus sufferers who complain the most process emotional noise in different parts of the brain than the people who did not think the symptoms were bothersome.

This can explain why some people are very bothered by tinnitus, and others are not. This shows that the symptoms distress some people more than others.

Insomnia. irritability, depression, mood swings, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts have been reportedly caused by tinnitus. Some people merely report it as a minor irritant or even say it doesn’t trouble them at all. The people who are less bothered by tinnitus generally process emotion in the brain’s frontal lobe, while others process emotions in the brain’s amygdala.

Treatment Options for Tinnitus

This study helps explain why tinnitus is more bothersome to some people and not others. It may also help scientists to come up with more effective treatments that can target the cause of this suffering.

Hearing loss and tinnitus are often connected, but even people with normal hearing can have tinnitus. If you begin to experience tinnitus symptoms a trip to your audiologist is a good idea, and may help to prevent hearing loss. Hearing technology with sound therapy tools are shown to help ease the symptoms of tinnitus and hearing aids can also be an option for those who suffer from hearing loss and tinnitus.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening. We can discuss hearing aid options with you and work with you to find one that fits your needs and budget.

WHAT ARE INVISIBLE HEARING AIDS?

When deciding to get hearing aids for the first time, many people list their top concern is how they look, and what people will think of them when they notice the hearing aids.

The stigma attached to having hearing aids can be a big deterrent to getting them at all.

If you could get all of the benefits of hearing aids: better communication, easier hearing, noise cancelling…and the hearing aids themselves were invisible, would that change your perspective?  

Well, now this is not just a daydream. Invisible hearing aids have become a reality, and they are helping more people than ever improve their hearing without the self-consciousness and stigma attached to using hearing aids.

Invisible-in-the-canal (IIC) hearing aids are now available and once inserted, are practically invisible to everyone.

The Benefits of IIC Hearing Aids:

They’re invisible. IICs are so tiny that once inserted in the ear canal, they are not noticeable or visible. Because they are so small, they fit deep into the ear canal and most people will not be able to see them. If the stigma of hearing aids has been stopping you from getting them, IICs could be right for you.

They’re comfortable. Because IICs fit so snugly deep within the ear canal, they don’t trap sound and cause an echoing called the occulusion effect like larger hearing aids can. Sounds are more natural, less hollow, less distorted.

They preserve battery life. The power output for IICs is lower than other hearing aids because they sit so close to the ear drum. This proximity to the ear drum also effectively prevents feedback, especially when talking on the phone. 

The sound quality is superior. Natural sound quality is another benefit of IICs. It sits so deep in your ear canal that it is can leverage the natural acoustics of your ear to funnel sound, giving it a more natural tone as a result.  There are no tubes or wires, so there is nothing to block the sound. An easier adjustment to using hearing aids has been reported, as well as better localization of sound.

IICs do have some drawbacks, however, which should weigh into the decision you make.

The Drawbacks of IIC Hearing Aids:

They only have one microphone. Most hearing aids are larger, so they can support multiple microphones, which allows for advanced directionality (the ability to focus on a sound in a certain direction and reduce background noise in that direction). Because IICs are so tiny, they can only support one microphone and therefore cannot offer the same directionality.

They preserve energy, but can only support very small batteries. The small size of IICs can only support a smaller battery that is depleted more rapidly than the larger batteries of other devices. The battery will therefore require more frequent charging.

IICs cannot accommodate severe hearing loss. People with mild to moderate hearing loss will benefit most from IICs. The small size can only offer limited capabilities.

IICs don’t fit some people’s ears. Occasionally IICs don’t work for people because of the shape of their ears. People with short ear canals or that are small or of an irregular shape may not be able to use IICs.

While IIC hearing devices are a marvel of modern technology and can be the perfect solution for some, especially people with mild to moderate hearing loss who are worried about bulky hearing aids, they are not right for everyone. Consult with your audiologist to weigh the pros and cons before deciding one way or the other.  

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening. We can discuss hearing aid options with you and work with you to find one that fits your budget.

PROTECT YOUR HEARING

Since permanent hearing loss is irreversible, it is very important to slow and prevent hearing damage any way we can. Here are a few tips to help you protect your hearing now and prevent hearing loss in the future.

1.    Reduce the Volume

Entertainment is everywhere: music follows us with our earbuds, we watch TV at home and listen to the radio in the car on the way to the movie theater, restaurant or ball game.

The World Health Organization found that over 1 billion teens and young adults in the world are at risk for noise-induced hearing loss as a result of audio devices.

If you enjoy listening to music or other entertainment through earbuds, protect your hearing by following the 60/60 rule: listen with headphones or earbuds no more than 60 minutes per day at no more than 60% volume. 

Over-the-ear headphones are also recommended instead of ear buds, because they expose the ear drum to less direct sound waves.

2.    Use Ear Protection

Noise in our environments like concerts, sporting events, a factory work setting, lawnmowers and other loud tools can contribute to noise-induced hearing loss, even if we are only occasionally exposed.

Approximately 15% of adults in the U.S. have hearing loss that is a result of environmental noise.

One very easy way to protect you hearing and prevent hearing loss is to carry earplugs. Earplugs are inexpensive, compact, and very helpful in preserving hearing. They can be purchased cheaply at almost any local drug or grocery store. Musicians and others that need special features can purchase custom earplugs that allow them to hear conversations and music while still limiting exposure to loud noise, for example. Ask your audiologist if custom ear plugs may be right for you.

3.    Recovery Time After Exposure

If you are in a particularly loud environment, like a concert or club, try to take 5 minutes to step away from the noise several times to allow your ears to rest.

Also, our ears need at least 16 hours of quiet to recover from a loud night out.

4.    No Need for Cotton Swabs

 Cotton swabs are both unnecessary and not recommended for cleaning the ears. Ear wax serves an important function in protecting our ear canals. Our ears are self-cleaning, and wax helps to prevent dirt, dust and bacteria from entering the ear canal and reaching our brains. Inserting anything too far into the ear jeopardies the sensitive ear drum, so don’t risk it.  

If you have excess wax, try cleaning your ears with a damp towel or with an earwax softening solution. If you think you have an overproduction of wax, ask your audiologist if anything else should be done.

5.    Avoid NSAIDs Whenever Possible

Over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen can cause hearing loss. This is called ototoxicity. It is often temporary but over time can become permanent, so take these medicines sparingly.

6.    Cut Out Stress

Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) can be triggered by high levels of stress. Anxiety and stress are well-known to limit blood circulation. In addition, it tenses up the body and puts pressure on the nerves. Take some time today and every day to relax. Think about the things for which you are grateful: thankfulness is a confirmed stress relief!

7.    Get Moving!

Exercise that that gets your heart pumping improves circulation to your whole body, including your ears. Any movement counts: walking, running or riding a bike are all great. Blood and oxygen flow are vital to the inner parts of the ear and help your hearing to function optimally.

8.    Dry is Best

Infections such as swimmer’s ear can be caused by moisture trapped in the ear canal. Infections can affect hearing ability either temporarily or even permanently. Gently dry your ears with a towel after bathing or swimming. If moisture can still be felt in your ears, lay down on the affected side or tilt your head and pull gently on your ear lobe to allow the water to come out naturally.

Ear plugs designed specifically for swimming are also great to prevent water from getting trapped in the ear canal. Ensure the ear plugs fit well, or moisture can still seep in and get stuck in your ear canal. If you do a lot of swimming, it’s a good idea to ask your audiologist about swimming ear plugs.

9.    Annual Screenings

Annual hearing exams are vital to hearing health. Hearing loss happens progressively, and often is overlooked until it has developed significantly. With regular screenings, you can catch hearing damage before you notice it yourself to prevent further loss.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening. We can discuss hearing aid options with you and work with you to find one that fits your budget.

TRAINING YOUR HEARING: A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT

If you have hearing loss, it’s a good idea to take positive steps to avoid further hearing damage. Here are five “workouts” to help strengthen your hearing skills.

Regular Exercise

Staying active all day long will help to keep blood circulating, which provides benefits to all areas of your body, including your ears.

Even light exercise is great, just as long as you do some of it every day. You can jog, cycle, or walk. Even stretching exercises like yoga and Pilates can qualify. And if you do a lot of gardening or housework—you know that can get your heart pumping as well!

Just remember, if you exercise to the tune of music, try to keep the volume low, especially when using ear buds. Noise-induced hearing loss is the most common type, and music is a repeat offender.

Stretching

Did you know that deep breathing and stretching exercises like in yoga can also help improve hearing?

We hear all the time that yoga has a lot of health benefits, and it can strengthen hearing by increasing blood flow to your ears, among other areas. Deep breathing and stretching are a light exertion and count as exercise!  

Where there is increased blood flow your body can also detoxify effectively, which can improve nerve function. All of these factors are positive and can help maintain healthy hearing.

Puzzles and Games

If I asked you which organ plays the biggest role in your hearing, you might say your ears, but you would be wrong! Your brain is the powerhouse when it comes to hearing and listening comprehension. Your ears are like sound funnels: they carry the sound in, but your brain translates and makes those sounds understandable to you. Therefore whatever you do to exercise your brain will positively impact your hearing skills too.

The brain needs exercise just as much as the rest of your body does! Games, riddles and puzzles like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and word searches are not only fun, they also serve as brain exercises which combats atrophy. Atrophy is known as demntia when it begins to not only affect your hearing but your mental capacity and reasoning abilities.

Pretty much any game counts here: social games like poker, bingo and hearts are a workout for your brain while being a fun activity with friends.

Practice Focus

You can find hearing exercises online or from your audiologist as well. These exercises are meant to improve your hearing capabilities and give you good practice at distinguishing sounds.

Here’s an exercise to try that can help you focus and train your hearing in an environment with a lot of distracting background noise:

Turn your TV or radio on so you can hear it clearly. Next turn on music or another competing noise. Have someone else walk around the room you are in, reading sentences from newspaper or a book. With your eyes closed, repeat the sentences back, and picture where they are in the room. This exercise in concentration can help you a lot with focus in an environment with a lot of background noise.  

Concentrate

Here’s one more exercise that you can do when you are alone almost anywhere. If you are at a park or a restaurant or anywhere else, close your eyes and open your ears. Pick out the noises around you. Recognize the sound and pinpoint its location. This exercise will help you to interpret sounds and focus in environments where there is a lot of background noise.  

Your physician or audiologist will be happy to do annual hearing evaluations with you to detect changes in hearing ability much more quickly than you could notice it yourself. The earlier hearing loss is detected the better. Devices and exercises can work to stop the progression of hearing damage so it doesn’t worsen.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening. We can discuss hearing aid options with you and work with you to find one that fits your budget.

WHAT ARE THE HEALTH IMPLICATIONS OF HEARING LOSS?

Hearing loss is an annoyance and can hinder a person’s social life and even effect productivity at work, but did you know that there can be other health implications associated with hearing loss?

Young Children and Babies with Hearing Loss

Hearing damage in infants and young children can be the most influential in a person’s life because it can hinder development during crucial years of growth. Inability to hear (or hear well) during these formative years can also go undetected until much of the damage has already been done.

Infants now undergo routine hearing screening soon after birth and at certain milestones to ensure their language, learning and social development is not hindered unnecessarily.

If hearing loss is not detected as early as possible, a child may miss key learning and communication development milestones that can affect his or her self-esteem, language skills and lifelong communication abilities.

Adults with Hearing Loss

The more common hearing loss occurs well into adulthood, as we age. This hearing loss won’t affect our development, but could lead to further health complications, including mental and social health issues.

Immediate effects of hearing loss can include headaches, fatigue, mental strain, muscle tension, high blood pressure and increased stress.

The effort it takes to communicate well when hearing is harder than it used to be can lead to social isolation and depression. Eventually lower mental stimulation may result which can lead to cognitive decline such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Hearing Loss as a Symptom

Hearing loss can not only cause other medical and health issues, it can also be a result of other health problems that may or may not have been yet detected.

These health problems that can affect hearing loss include heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, obesity, diabetes, and other chronic illness. Acute illnesses such as respiratory or ear infections can also affect hearing in the short term.

Medications can also cause short-term hearing loss as well, but will usually reverse when the medication is stopped. Medications that affect hearing are called ototoxic medications.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening. We can discuss hearing aid options with you and work with you to find one that fits your budget.

TWO LOCATIONS TO SERVE YOU BETTER

San Mateo

88 N. San Mateo Drive
San Mateo, California, 94401

San Carlos

1008 Laurel Street
San Carlos, California, 94070

Phone: (650) 342-9449
Fax: (650) 342-4435
Email: info@calhearing.com

COMMON CAUSES OF HEARING PROBLEMS: HOW TO SPOT THEM

Often we think of hearing loss as an issue that starts in adulthood and only affects adults. While hearing loss affects the elderly the most, it is something that can affect every age and that can begin as early as birth or as an infant.

Ear infections are a common childhood ailment within the first months or years of life, because the immune system and ear canal are still developing and fluids can more easily become trapped in the ear canal causing infection. As long as ear infections are resolved quickly, there is usually no lasting damage, but if they go on for too long, or they are too frequent, sometimes hearing issues can result.

The overwhelming majority of hearing loss does occur in the elderly, however, and can get worse as we age unless we do something about it. This is why yearly hearing screenings at your doctor’s or audiologist’s office are so important. The earlier hearing loss is caught, the earlier your doctor can intervene and halt the progression.

Here are the most common types of hearing loss, how you can recognize them and what you can do about it.

Congenital Hearing Loss
As the name indicates, congenital hearing loss affects hearing from birth, and will affect the sufferer throughout his or her lifetime.

Congenital hearing loss is often passed down from other members of the family who are impacted by it, or it can happen due to complications during labor and delivery as an infant.

Other genetic syndromes can also affect hearing, including Down Syndrome, Treacher Collins, and Usher Syndromes. Sickness of the mother during pregnancy, such as herpes, rubella, toxoplasmosis, cytomegolavirus or German measles can also result in a congenital hearing defect for the child she is carrying.

Otitis Media
Otitis Media is the most common type of hearing loss and it involves inflammation of the middle ear, which can result in a gradual build-up of fluid in the ear that sometimes leads to a viral infection we call an “ear infection.”

Most ear infections occur in children under 7 years old. The child will complain of ear pain or discomfort, and babies may pull at their ears. A mild fever, irritability and crying may be other indications an ear infection is present.

Hearing loss due to otitis media is almost always temporary, as it is due to the build-up of fluid in the ear, which will usually drain as the infection is resolved.

Damaged Ear Drum
The ear drum is a very thin membrane separating the middle ear from the inner ear, and it is surprisingly easy to damage it with a very loud noise or even with a cotton swab.

Fortunately, a damaged eardrum usually heals without any intervention. The rate of healing can depend on the cleanliness and health of the ear (more moisture in the ear can cause it to heal more slowly).

In the most ideal conditions, fully healing a damaged eardrum may take several weeks.

Swimmer’s Ear
Swimmer’s ear is a build-up of water or moisture in the ear, which causes the inner ear to become irritated and swollen. Surprisingly, Swimmer’s Ear is not always caused by swimming: it can happen for any reason. Very rainy, foggy or humid weather can sometimes cause this buildup of moisture in the ear canal and lead to Swimmer’s Ear as well.

Swimmer’s Ear can also happen over time, so if you are feeling it get worse, see your doctor or audiologist to help you clear the excess moisture, because cotton swabs probably won’t work.

Glue Ear
Glue ear is a condition in which sticky, thick residue builds up in the middle section of the ear and blocks normal hearing. To the sufferer, it may feel like something has been pushed into the ear just out of reach.

Glue ear can go away on its own, but it does not always resolve itself. It can be challenging if a young child has it because babies and toddlers lack the words to express what is bothering them, so it may be difficult to diagnose.

Because it causes a temporary hearing loss, glue ear can also interfere with development during these formative years if it is not resolved or treated.

Excessive Ear Wax
While glue ear is more common among children, excessive ear wax build-up is more common among adults. Excessive ear wax will rarely lead to any other health issues, but it may require drops that help to thin out the ear wax so it can be expelled by the body.

If you frequently experience excessive ear wax, you may want to explore alternative options for cleaning your ears, such as a syringe that can remove ear wax build up.

Otitis Externa
Otitis externa is similar to otitis media as it is an infection in the outer part of the ear, instead of the middle part. Otitis externa is most often caused by exposure to a bacteria from polluted waters, like in a polluted lake or swimming hole.

Symptoms of otitis externa may include irritation, pain and itching of the outer section of the ear, and the tissue may become swollen.

Fortunately, otitis externa is easily treated: often it resolves on its own, or more severe cases can be treated with antibiotics.

Ototoxic Medications
Sometimes medications or exposure to certain chemicals can cause temporary or even permanent hearing loss. The type of medication that can affect hearing are called ototoxic medications.

Many types of medication can affect hearing loss short-term, most commonly NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin. These hearing issues usually resolve when the medication is stopped. Some antibiotics can also cause permanent hearing loss, and for that reason they are only used in life-threatening situations.

Acquired Hearing Loss
And finally, the type of hearing loss we most often think of is acquired hearing loss, which can result from severe or frequent exposure to loud noises. Continually listening to very loud music or other loud noise, or even a noisy work environment can contribute to noise-induced hearing loss over time.

Other causes of acquired hearing loss are chronic untreated ear infections, meningitis, whooping cough, damaged ear drum, chicken pox, measles, mumps, and even a bad case of the flu. The good news for these types of hearing loss is that they are most often temporary and will resolve themselves with the infection.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening.