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Almost 36 million Americans over the age of 50 have some type of hearing loss. For many people, this loss happens so gradually that they don't notice it – at least, not right away. For some people, the hearing loss is sudden and noticeable. Here are the four most common types of hearing problems, and what you can do about them.
Why it happens: As people age – especially those who are frequently exposed to loud noises like musicians or people who work with loud machinery – they may have a type of hearing loss called Presbycusis. This gradual hearing loss is the result of the death of hair cells in the cochlea, in your inner ear. These hair cells translate sound vibrations into brain signals, and once they die, they do not regenerate.
Trouble hearing in noisy places like a restaurant or at a party is one of the first, noticeable signs of hearing loss. This is because filtering out background noise gets harder with fewer hair cells.
How to fix it: Once cells are damaged or dead, they are gone for good, and can't be replaced. But you can prevent further loss by limiting your exposure to loud sounds. Wear protective headphones when working with loud machines, and turn the music down on your iPod – if the person next to you can hear the music in your ear buds, it's too loud.
If hearing loss is affecting your everyday life, talk to your audiologist about hearing aids. The new technology in hearing aids can reduce the background noise while allowing you to hear speech more clearly. And new hearing aids are practically invisible, so no one will know you're wearing them.
Why it happens: This feeling is usually caused by excess mucus in the eustachian tube from an allergy or infection. This tube regulates airflow between the throat and middle ear, and when it is blocked, you may get a feeling of fullness or muffled hearing, as well as pain, tinnitus and sometimes popping in your ears. A buildup of earwax can also cause this feeling.
How to fix it: When the infection goes away, the mucus will clear and the eustachian tube will work normally again. Antihistamines and decongestants can help reduce inflammation, and a healthcare provider can help you remove excess earwax.
Why it happens: Hair cells and nerves can be affected by the sudden fluid buildup from a virus or ear infection. Certain medications including aspirin, chemotherapy drugs and some antibiotics can also cause quick damage to hair cells or nerves.
How to fix it: If the nerve injury is detected within 72 hours (for example, with an audiogram), steroids can help reduce the inflammation and prevent swelling of the auditory nerve. If it is left untreated, the swollen auditory nerve can cause permanent hearing loss. If the hearing loss is the result of medication, a change in the medication, if possible, will alleviate the hearing loss.
Why it happens: These symptoms together could mean that you have Meniere's Disease. This disorder is not common, but it does affect one in every 500 people in the United States. The disease changes the amount, flow and composition of the fluid in the inner ear, leading to the trouble with your hearing and other symptoms.
How to fix it: While there is no cure for Meniere's Disease, it is treatable. A doctor-prescribed diuretic and a low-sodium diet can help reduce fluid in the inner ear. In rare cases, doctors may recommend a steroid injection to reduce inflammation in the inner ear or drain the fluid from the ear with a tube.
No matter what type of hearing loss you suffer, it is important to visit your physician or audiologist immediately to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment. The sooner you seek professional help, the more likely your hearing loss can be treated easily and effectively, with no long-term effects.
Dr Anzola is outstanding. Dr Anzola has provided me with hearing aids that have improved my hearing dramatically. She does an outstanding job of adjusting them each time I see her. Her staff will always fit me in if I need some help. My hearing aids have made such an improvement in the quality of my life. I am most grateful to Dr Anzola.
- Linda B., Annandale, VA
Great Service with Outstanding Results. Lost my previous hearing aids so went to Dr Ana Anzola for help in getting new ones. Thanks to her I have new hearing aids which are extraordinarily better than anything I had before. She takes time to analyze your hearing loss and then creates the best solution tailored to your needs. I woukld recommend her to anyone who suffers from hearing loss problems.
- Thomas A., Mc Lean, VA
A five-star experience! I am a first-time hearing-aid user. I did not know what to expect but Dr. Anzola immediately put me at ease, explained the process and educated me on available options. I have been impressed with the follow-up services. The doctors and staff are friendly, efficient and professional. I have recommended Ascent to others.
- Kathleen S., Herndon, VA
A+++++ (that's 5) for service, professionalism, expertise, etc. I went to the office not really knowing what to expect. Marci Smith was the Audiologist and she is very personable and professional. I am almost please enough to travel to Rockville, her normal office. Everything about the people and office are really the best.
- Richard L., Falls Church, VA
All 5 stars! I purchased my Starkey hearing aids in Naples Florida where we spend part of the year. Audiology Associates located in Naples found Ascent in a directory. With the office close to where we live, I have come in twice to purchase supplies. Service was professional, courteous, and prompt. I will be back for continued purchases as well as service on my hearing aids if necessary.
- Richard S., Oakton, VA
Service is very good and quick. After service my hearing aid is in good condition. I satisfy. Thanks.
- Thuy D., Rockville, MD
Excelent practice. Dr Anzola is an excellent professional. I'm very happy with her professional practice and office. Before I went there, I visited many doctors and they never solved my problem. With Dr. Anzola my experience has been very good.
- Ana B., Bethesda, MD
Excellent! Highly recommend. I accompanied my mother for her initial exam and again when she received the hearing aids. I was very impressed with the amount of time spent and the attention to detail. My mother is not an easy customer and for her to be impressed also says volumes. Dr. Anzola listened well and carefully and responded to all questions and concerns. I was invited to sit in as the aids were prepared and how to use and care for them was explained. She took A LOT of time going over everything, answering questions, and explaining everything in detail. We never felt hurried or rushed. Our appointment was on a Friday late afternoon. What totally amazed us was on Saturday morning my mother got a call from Dr. Anzola. She wanted to see how my mother did after the appointment and in the morning. She asked my mother if she had any questions or concerns. A follow up from the doctor WITHOUT a call from us, was a pleasant surprise. I would highly recommend her.
- Dale L., Alexandria, VA
Dr. Anzola is very attentive, listens very carefully to what ou have to say, will answer all guestions and will change whatever that can be changed to accommidate your wishes. If you have a problem Dr. Anzola will squeeze you in as soon as possible.
- Mary M., Falls Church, VA
Overall - Excellent. Office is officially run and staff (Christine) always accommodating. Appointments are timely, so next to no waiting time. Very friendly but efficient and professional environment. Small waiting room but comfortable setting. Earing devices and testing process seem to meet excellent standards...Doctor Anzola appears very technically knowledgeable and competent.
- Linda G., Fairfax, VA
I Can Hear!!! Dr. Anzola and her staff have been unbelievably fabulous with me. They worked with me to make sure that I got the help I needed and got the comfort that I wanted. They've been there every time I've needed advice or help. And yes, I've already been recommending them to friends. Think you can't hear? Go get help - After 10 years, I'm hearing the birds again... I had no idea how much I'd lost and I'm so happy to have it back again!
- Sheldon C., Arlington, VA
They have gone out of their way to help me hear better. Many times I have called or gone to their office to correct a problem or answer a question.
– Lynda R., McLean, VA
Excellent service! Dr. Anzola is totally professional, helpful and experienced - it is a pleasure to use her services.
- Jane F., Mclean, VA
Dr. Anzola taught me how to use my hearing aid. Improving your hearing is more than purchasing an aid. I am very pleased with my choice to get assistance from Ascent Audiology for my hearing needs. Dr. Anzola is a teacher as well as a doctor. I highly recommend her practice.
- Carol B., Falls Church, VA
Great service, good listeners! My hearing aids are very comfortable. I've been wearing them now since Jan. 2013. Dr. Anzola is responsive to my questions and gives great customer service! Christina is so helpful and her calls to remind me of my next appointment are much appreciated. Thank you Dr. Anzola and staff.
- Craig R., Arlington, VA
Caring, professional audiologist Dr. Anzula guided me through the difficult transition of adjusting to wearing hearing aids. She made sure I had devices to fit mt needs and took the time and care to make sure I was satisfied.
- Rhett D., Mc Lean, VA
Outstanding in all areas. Dr. Anzola and her staff are well-trained professionals who are dedicated to providing a high level of service to their patients.She is not satisfied until her patient is completely satisfied.I am very pleased with the product and my relationship with Dr. Anzola and her staff
- David S., Fairfax, VA
* Free hearing screening offer is not applicable to patients under 18 years of age or existing patients.