The loss of your hearing and other ear-related problems may have a serious impact on your life, both on a professional and personal level. It’s easy to underestimate just how big a difference your hearing has on your quality of life.
Now imagine being a teenager and going through every kind of change imaginable, and add on top of it the devastation or sheer frustration of hearing loss. At such a tumultuous and seemingly crucial chapter in a person’s life, dealing with ear problems seems like more than enough to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Know the Warning Signs
This makes it all the more important that parents and teenagers don’t ignore the symptoms. The main signs to look out for are:
- An excessive buildup of earwax
Tinnitus is easy to identify once you’ve experienced it because it’s often impossible to ignore. The defining trait of tinnitus is the ringing, buzzing, or other types of noise heard by sufferers of the problem – noises that, of course, aren’t really there and consequently make it hard to hear what’s actually going on in their surroundings.
It’s highly advisable to work with a professional audiologist if your teenager is experiencing the above-listed symptoms. If you don’t want to leave it up to chance, you can choose to benefit from the expertise of fully-trained and highly experienced medical professionals who know how to deal with these problems.
Audiologists are better equipped than general care physicians to spot the warning signs for ear problems in teenagers because they specialize in these types of concerns. They’ll work with the parents and the teen to find a treatment plan geared towards their unique problems. It’s nice to be able to take comfort in the fact that your child will receive care that is professional, friendly, and secure.
How Hearing Loss Impacts Daily Life
Ear problems often result in muffled sounds – and that includes speech. This leads to difficulty understanding what people are saying, which can be extremely frustrating. It might be even harder to follow conversations when you’re in a crowd and there are multiple layers of other noises happening at once.
What this communication breakdown so often leads to is the person with hearing loss asking people to repeat themselves constantly, which might be embarrassing. It may also result in turning up the volume louder than you realized on the TV or stereo, disturbing housemates and even possibly neighbors.
How the Ears Allow You to Hear
The outer, middle, and inner ears all play a part in delivering auditory information to the brain. They are able to work together because they are joined by the auditory neural pathway, which completes the system. Every link in the chain is crucial to the functionality of the system as a whole, meaning issues with any part may result in hearing loss.
Teenagers May be Particularly Vulnerable to Ear Problems
It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that teenagers don’t always have the best hygiene or habits. They also don’t always pay close attention to what their bodies are telling them, leading to a more reckless lifestyle due to being unaware of the potential consequences. This may lead to problems related to the ear that can easily escalate into more serious health concerns if they don’t communicate the problem to their parents or doctor.
A More Common Problem Than Ever
In the United States, over 30 million people suffer from hearing loss. Although it mostly impacts those who are at least 65 years old, anyone can experience hearing loss problems – and that includes teenagers.
It is common for a person’s hearing to deteriorate as time goes on. The more a person is exposed to loud noises, the more likely they are to lose certain frequencies or experience tinnitus as they get older.
A teenager might also have ear issues due to a new medication they’ve started taking, or it may also be a side-effect of a disease. It’s also important to be aware of loud concerts that teenagers are prone to attending; without proper hearing protection, these can easily lead to hearing problems.
Knowing Which Type of Hearing Loss Your Teen is Experiencing
Hearing loss comes in several different forms. The three main types of hearing loss include conductive, sensorineural, and mixed. The classification of the type of hearing loss a patient is experiencing depends on the part or parts of the auditory system that’s been affected.
With this form of hearing loss, the inner ear has lost its ability to absorb the full volume of noises that go into the ear canal. As such, conductive hearing loss causes the sound to diminish before it can reach the inner ear. Common causes for conductive hearing loss include ear infections, tumors, pierced eardrum, or a foreign object that has become lodged in the ear.
This form of hearing loss is characterized by extreme damage that’s been done to either the inner ear’s nerves, the nerves of the brain, or both. This is often a result of aging, but it can also happen to teenagers if they experience severe head trauma or are around excessively loud noises for long periods of time. This is also something that can result from a teenager’s genetics, so it’s always worth it to look into your family history.
As the name suggests, this is a blend of the other two families of hearing conditions. The damage that’s been done to the ears may be impacting any combination of the outer, middle, and inner ears. Teenagers who experience mixed hearing loss generally experience a combination of symptoms from both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
An audiologist in Sewell NJ may be able to help if your teen is experiencing any of the above symptoms. The right medical intervention can prevent minor hearing concerns from developing into serious issues.