How We Hear
It makes sense when I tell people we hear with our brain and not our ears. Our ears are just designed to send the signal up to the brain. And really, the only thing keeping our brain stimulated is our eyes and our ears. To understand how the sound makes it from our ear to our brain, keep reading! Sound begins in our environment as sound waves and travels through the outer ear to the middle ear, and onto the inner ear, or cochlea, where there are hair cells. The movement of the hair cells causes the sound signal to become electrical energy, to continue onto the brain for processing.
Noise Induced Hearing loss
The main cause of hearing loss that we see at Flex Audiology is noise induced hearing loss. This can occur quickly, think of a firearm or explosion, or over long periods of repeated exposure like working in a factory or around power tools. When the loud sound hit our ears, the inner hair cells can become overworked and damaged. Unfortunately, these hair cells do not grow back after being damaged, and damage to the hair cells can cause hearing loss, tinnitus, and/or a decline in speech understanding and is called noise induced hearing loss. While research is being done on noise induced hearing loss and potential treatment options, currently the best solution is prevention. At Flex Audiology, we specialize in custom hearing protection.
Adult Hearing Testing
Hearing evaluations are a vital part of ear health and consist of several different tests to determine the status of an individual’s hearing health. At Flex Audiology, we provide different components of a hearing test to include otoscopy, puretone testing, word recognition, tympanometry, and acoustic reflexes.
Understanding speech in background noise is a main complaint of many patients seeking hearing help. That’s why at Flex Audiology, we routinely test for hearing in noise. The quick speech in noise test (QSIN) is an assessment of how well an individual is able to understand speech in background noise. QSIN may be performed both before and after hearing aids are fit to ensure hearing aids are providing appropriate gain and improvement. QSIN is an essential tool that allows Dr. Erica Au.D. to determine which hearing aid features or assistive listening devices will best help an individual.
For people needing more advanced diagnostic hearing testing, Flex Audiology also performs Otoacoustic Emissions.
Hearing Loss Prevention
Hearing loss often occurs over a long period of time, and may be influenced by different environmental factors. While hearing loss may not be entirely preventable as we age, there some ways to best protect our ears. Loud noise or noise exposure over a lifetime may contribute to hearing loss and the best way to prevent this is by taking care of your hearing health in these environments which include factory work, hunting, and loud concerts. When in those environments, custom made earmolds are the best protection for reducing sound.