The hearing process is complex and multi-faceted. First, sound waves enter the outer ear and create vibrations at the ear drum. The ear drum, along with three small bones in the middle ear, then amplify those vibrations as they travel to the inner ear. Once at the inner ear, the vibrations pass through fluid located in the cochlea.
The nerve cells in the cochlea are attached to thousands of tiny hairs that translate sound vibrations into nerve signals that your brain can recognize. Different vibrations interact with these hairs in unique ways, allowing you to distinguish a variety of sounds.
When a breakdown in this process occurs and leads to hearing loss, it is usually due to:
Inner ear damage. The aging process and exposure to loud sounds can damage the hairs and nerve cells in the cochlea. When this occurs, the signals aren’t transmitted properly, resulting in permanent hearing loss.
Earwax buildup. When earwax builds up, it can block the ear canal and prevent sound waves from passing through and creating the necessary vibrations. This form of hearing loss is temporary and can be reversed by simply removing the blockage.
Ruptured eardrum. When a tear develops in the thin membrane separating your inner and outer ear, it’s known as a ruptured eardrum. Because the eardrum is responsible for sensing sound waves and converting vibrations into nerve signals, this injury can result in hearing loss.
Ear infection, abnormal growths and tumors. Any one of these conditions can occur in the outer and middle ear and may lead to hearing loss.
The recommended treatment approach will depend on the severity and underlying cause of your hearing loss. However, SFENTA physicians are well-versed and experienced in the full range of solutions for hearing problems, including cochlea implants, hearing aids, surgical procedures and removing a buildup of earwax.
If you’re having trouble hearing, we are here to help. Your SFENTA physician will diagnose the underlying cause of your problem and help you hear clearly once again.
- Most insurance plans accepted -