If you are experiencing hearing loss, you should see an ENT specialist who can make the correct diagnosis. This is important because the treatment for hearing loss depends on the cause. Once a diagnosis is made, your physician will be able to talk to you about all treatment options. A critical part of the evaluation will be a hearing test (audiogram) performed by an audiologist to determine the severity of your hearing loss, as well as whether it is conductive, sensorineural, or a combination of both.
Your ENT specialist may recommend specific treatment options based on the results of your hearing test, or other potential tests such as a CT or MRI imaging scan. Treatment options can include:
- Continuing observation with repeated hearing tests
- Medical therapy—corticosteroids (oral or injection through the eardrum) may be used to reduce cochlear hair cell swelling and inflammation after exposure to loud noises; diuretics may be used for Ménière’s disease
- Low-sodium diet
- Evaluation and fitting of a hearing aid(s) or other assistive listening devices
- Preferential seating in class for school children
- Surgery to correct the cause of the hearing loss
- Surgery to implant a hearing device
SNHL can be treated with the use of conventional hearing aids or an implantable hearing device. Again, your ENT specialist and/or audiologist can help you decide which device may work best for you depending on your hearing test results and your lifestyle.