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Is My Hearing Bad or Is It Ear Wax?

Not being able to hear and having to ask people to repeat what they said can be frustrating. Sometimes, people just give up on trying to help you understand what they said. Sometimes people get exasperated. It can be embarrassing to suffer from an untreated hearing issue. But how do you know if you’ve actually suffered a hearing loss or just have a severe wax buildup? The first step is to make an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat specialist like New York ENT for an exam.

Determining What Is Causing My Hearing Loss

There are two major types of hearing loss:

Conductive hearing loss is a condition characterized by the inability to conduct sound waves in the ear canal—the route of the outer ear, eardrum, and middle ear. You can experience conductive hearing loss because of an ear infection, allergies, ear wax, fluid buildup or a cold.

Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) occurs due to issues with the sensory nerves in the inner ear. It is caused by damage to or the absence of hair cells in the cochlea. The level of hearing loss depends on how much damage there is or how many hair cells are absent.

How Do You Determine the Type of Hearing Loss?

In both conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss, the ability to hear clearly is inhibited.

However, conductive hearing loss can usually be treated by treating the underlying symptom: removing wax, treating infection, draining fluid buildup, etc.  In addition to lost or muffled hearing, you may experience pain. If an infection is serious, you may have drainage from your ear.

People who suffer from sensorineural hearing loss either have no hearing at all, hear muffled sounds, or only hear certain pitches. The treatment for sensorineural hearing loss is either surgery or hearing aids.

If you are suffering from sensorineural hearing loss, the first step towards feeling better is to schedule an evaluation with an experienced ear, nose and throat doctor. Board certified physicians with New York ENT have extensive experience diagnosing and treating a wide variety of ear-related conditions. Fill out the form on this page or call our office at (212) 873-6168 to schedule an appointment today.

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