Entsa of Appleton
Entsa of Appleton

Help with Hearing Loss in the Fox Cities

Ear, Nose and Throat Surgical Associates, located in Appleton, Wisconsin, employs only audiologists (licensed and certified professional who has earned a Doctoral Degree in the field of audiology) to identify, diagnose and treat hearing and hearing loss related issues. This ensures our patients receive the finest care possible.

What can I do to improve my hearing?

  • Eliminate or lower unnecessary noises around you.
  • Let friends and family know about your hearing loss and ask them to speak slowly and more clearly, not louder! Speaking louder only increases distortion.
  • Ask people to face you when they are speaking to you, so you can watch their faces and see their expressions.
  • Utilize sound amplifying devices on telephones, or purchase an amplified telephone.
  • Use personal listening systems to reduce background noise.
Entsa of Appleton

Tips to maintain hearing health

  • If you work in noisy places or commute to work in noisy traffic or construction, choose quiet leisure activities instead of noisy ones.
  • Develop the habit of wearing earplugs when you know you will be exposed to noise.
  • Earplugs reduce about 25 dB of sound and can mean the difference between a dangerous level and a safe level of noise.
  • Try not to use several noisy machines at the same time (i.e., listening to headphones while cutting the lawn).
Entsa of Appleton

Hearing loss is one of the most common conditions in the United States. Many are tempted to put off seeking treatment until it becomes absolutely necessary. Hearing loss is like any other medical condition; the sooner you seek treatment, the better the outcome.

Ear, Nose and Throat Surgical Associates staffs well educated and experienced audiologists. They are able to identify, diagnose and treat any type of hearing loss you may be experiencing.

If you are suffering from hearing loss, contact us at (920) 734-7181 to schedule an appointment.

Hearing loss may occur if there is an issue with any part of the hearing process. Sound is trapped by the outer ear and funneled through the ear canal. The sound wave hits the eardrum, which creates a vibration. This vibration is passed through the three bones of the middle ear: the malleus, incus and stapes. The last bone in the series, the stapes, knocks against the oval window. This knocking motion causes the fluid within the cochlea to move. The cochlea is lined with thousands of tiny hairs; when the liquid moves this causes the hairs to move as well. The movement of the hair creates an electric signal which is passed through the auditory nerve to the brain, where it is processed as sound.

There are three types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive and mixed.

Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is an obstruction or damage that prevents sound waves traveling from the outer or middle ear into the inner ear. This can be caused by a deformity of the outer ear, fluid buildup in the middle ear or a perforated eardrum. This type of hearing loss is usually only temporary and can be corrected through medical or surgical means.

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the tiny hairs within the inner ear or the auditory nerve that connects the ear to the brain. This is the most common type of hearing loss and can be caused by exposure to loud noises, aging or an injury to the head. This type of hearing loss is permanent but many find relief with the use of a hearing device.

Mixed hearing loss is exactly what it sounds like: a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. This means you have an issue with your outer or middle ear as well as an issue with the inner ear. To treat this, your audiologist will determine the cause of your conductive hearing loss before moving on to the sensorineural.

While hearing loss is more common in the older population, two to three of every 1,000 children are born deaf or hard of hearing. Treating hearing loss at the first sign is especially important in children, as hearing plays a key role in learning to understand language.

Hearing loss in children is broken down into two kinds: congenital or acquired. As with adults it can be conducive, sensorineural or mixed.

Congenital hearing loss is hearing loss that is present at birth. Genetic and non-genetic factors can contribute to this type of hearing loss. Birth defects, premature birth and maternal diabetes are the most common non-genetic causes; these account for only around 25 percent of congenital hearing loss. Genetic factors make up 50 percent. Genetic factors can be caused by autosomal recessive hearing loss, which is the most common type of genetic congenital hearing loss. This means that neither parent has hearing loss but each carries a recessive gene which is then passed on to the child. Autosomal dominant hearing loss, meaning at least one parent is carrying a dominant gene for hearing loss, accounts for about 15 percent of genetic hearing loss. The rest is caused by genetic conditions, such as Usher or Treacher Collins syndrome. The cause for the remaining 25 percent of children born with hearing loss could not be determined.

Acquired hearing loss occurs after the child is born. This can be caused by a perforated eardrum, a head injury or an untreated ear infection.

Newborn hearing screenings are performed on children 24 to 48 hours after birth. These are a series of simple tests that the child will either pass of fail. If they fail the test, they are scheduled for a more elaborate second screening a few weeks later.

In order to determine if your child is experiencing hearing loss, there are some key speech and hearing milestones that your child should reach. If not, you should schedule a hearing evaluation as soon as possible.

Birth to four months

  • Startles at loud sounds
  • Wakes up or stirs at loud noises
  • Responds to your voice by smiling or cooing

Four months to nine months

  • Smiles when spoken to
  • Turns head toward familiar sounds
  • Makes babbling noises

Nine months to 15 months

  • Repeats simple sounds
  • Understands basic requests
  • Responds to names

15 months to 24 months

  • Uses simple words
  • Names common objects
  • Follows basic commands

It is also important to keep an eye on your older children for any of the following signs of hearing loss

  • Speaks differently than other children the same age
  • Turns up the volume of the television or sits closer to the television
  • Complains of ear pain
  • Says “what?” or “huh?” multiple times a day

Some of the causes of pediatric hearing loss can be corrected through medical or surgical means. Others may need to attend speech therapy or use a hearing device such as a hearing aid, cochlear implant or an assistive listening device.