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Hearing & Balance Disorders

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What Causes Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss can result from the natural process of aging, exposure to loud sounds (including music), illnesses, medications, ear infections, trauma, or ear diseases. Hearing loss can occur suddenly but most often occurs gradually over a period of years. For this reason, many people may not realize they have hearing loss. Oftentimes, a family member may notice their loved one has hearing loss before the individual realizes they are having difficulty.

Signs Associated with Hearing Loss in Adults

  • Asking people to repeat what they said
  • Missing everyday sounds, such as the telephone ringing or birds chirping
  • Setting the television or radio volume louder than other family members require
  • Complaining that people "mumble"
  • Difficulty hearing a conversation in noisy places such as restaurants and meetings
  • Difficulty hearing speakers at public meetings or during religious services
  • Staying home to avoid social situations
  • Hearing sounds in the ears such as ringing, buzzing or hissing

Signs Associated with Hearing Loss in Children

  • Delays in speech and language development
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Not passing a hearing screening
  • Repeated ear infections
  • Educational difficulties

What Causes Balance Disorders?

Balance disorders may be caused by infections, head injury, disorders of blood circulation, visual disorders, medicines/drugs, tumors or diseases involving the auditory system, such as Meniere's disease. Due to the many possible causes of balance disorders, you should consult with your primary care physician to discuss your symptoms and determine the need for evaluation and management.

Signs Associated with Balance Disorders

  • Dizzy with certain head movements
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sensation of motion without movement
  • Faintness or near to passing out (presyncope)
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion and fatigue
  • Clumsiness/imbalance