If you are experiencing hearing loss, you should see an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist, or otolaryngologist, who can make a specific diagnosis for you, and talk to you about treatment options, including surgical procedures. A critical part of the evaluation will be a hearing test (audiogram) performed by an audiologist (a professional who tests hearing function) to determine the severity of your loss as well as determine if the hearing loss is conductive, sensorineural, or a mix of both.
Based on the results of your hearing test and what your ENT specialist’s examination shows, as well as results from other potential tests such as imaging your ears with a CT or MRI, the specialist will make various recommendations for treatment options.
The treatment options can include:
- Observation with repeat hearing testing at a subsequent follow up visit
- Evaluation and fitting of a hearing aid(s) and other assistive listening devices
- Preferential seating in class for school children
- Surgery to address the cause of hearing loss
- Surgery to implant a hearing device
These conditions may not, but likely will, need surgery:
- Bony lesions
- Aural atresia
- Otitis media (if chronic or recurrent)
- Severe retraction of the tympanic membrane
- A hole in the ear drum
- Damage to the middle ear bones
Many types of hearing loss can also be treated with the use of conventional hearing or an implantable hearing device. Again, your ENT specialist and/or audiologist can help you decide which device may work best for you and your lifestyle.