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Age-Related Hearing Loss Treatment Overview

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Care Plan


First steps to consider

  • Very minimal hearing loss can be managed at home.
  • Try to avoid loud noise exposure and conversations in settings with a lot of background noise (like a busy restaurant).
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When you may need a provider

  • Anyone who has noticeable hearing loss should consider seeing a hearing specialist for a baseline hearing test and to confirm that hearing loss is from age-related changes.
  • Testing requires an in-person visit.
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Emergency Care

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Go to the ER if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • The degree of your hearing loss suddenly changes.
  • There is a change in your hearing along with neurologic symptoms (mental status changes, confusion, delirium, muscle weakness).

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All treatments for age-related hearing loss
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When to see a healthcare provider

If you notice hearing loss, you should consider seeing an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor). At the visit, it is likely they will refer you for a hearing test (audiogram).

This is important because while the vast majority of hearing loss is not dangerous, there are rare cases where there could be something more serious causing the loss.

Your doctor will likely discuss hearing aids. For very severe hearing loss, you may be a candidate for a surgery called a cochlear implantation.

Getting diagnosed

At your visit, the otolaryngologist will review your health history and any medications you’ve taken. They will examine your head, neck, and ears, and may use special instruments to look at your eardrum and middle ear.

It is likely they will also recommend a formal hearing test (audiogram) performed by a specialized hearing provider (audiologist). This is done in a soundproof booth, where specific levels and frequencies of hearing are tested. You will probably be asked to repeat the test every 1–2 years to monitor your hearing loss.

In some cases, you may need imaging (CT scan or MRI) of your middle and inner ear.

What to expect at your doctor visit

For routine age-related hearing loss, your doctors may discuss using hearing aids. Hearing aids carry sounds from the environment into your ear and make them louder. There are a range of types, including completely in your ear, partially in your ear, and on your outer ear. There are now even very small, almost invisible hearing aids. Hearing aids vary in price, sophistication, and size, and each style has pros and cons. It’s important to talk to your provider about which type may be best for you.

Surgery for hearing loss

If hearing aids don’t help you, an audiologist or otolaryngologist may discuss whether you’re a candidate for a cochlear implant. Instead of making sounds louder (amplifying), these implants bypass damaged parts of your ear and directly stimulate the hearing nerve.

Types of providers for hearing loss

  • A primary care provider can discuss your symptoms and recommend any next steps.
  • An otolaryngologist is an ear, nose, and throat doctor (also called an ENT) who can further evaluate and treat your condition.
  • An audiologist (hearing specialist) performs formal hearing tests (audiograms) and can help with hearing aids.
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