Hearing loss falls into two broad categories, conductive and sensorineural. An otolaryngologist, together with an audiologist, can help determine which type of hearing loss is present. Physicians at the Ear, Nose and Throat Associates of San Mateo County work together with many audiologists in our community, including the audiologists of the Hearing Resource Center of San Mateo, who provide complete audiologic evaluations of patients.
Conductive hearing losses include loss of hearing due to physical blockages or problems with the sound conduction structures of the ear. Examples include perforated eardrums, ear infections, cholesteatomas or impacted ear wax. Otosclerosis is an ear disease which often leads to fixation of the middle ear bones (or ossicles), which inhibits their proper vibration. Exostoses are bony outgrowths of the ear canal which may also block hearing. These occur more often in people who surf or have had a history of cold water exposure to the ears, and can be removed surgically.
Sensorineural hearing losses refer to problems hearing related to the inner ear, including the cochlea, as well as the nerve of hearing. Such hearing losses may occur due to hereditary factors, noise exposure, certain drugs or trauma. Sensorineural hearing loss can also result from certain inner ear diseases such as Meniere's disease or autoimmune hearing losses. Though many sensorineural hearing losses occur gradually, they may also occur suddenly. Any sudden hearing loss should be promptly evaluated by an otolaryngologist, as treatment needs to be started immediately.
Hearing aids may be necessary for people with sensorineural hearing losses, or sometimes for those with conductive hearing losses, if the latter are not surgically correctable. Professional audiologists carefully evaluate each patient's hearing loss and make recommendations for hearing aids that are most appropriate for that individual.
The Hearing Resource Center is located in the same building as our offices:
100 S. Ellsworth Ave, Suites 711 and 303
San Mateo, CA 94401
Please call them at (650) 579-4470 to schedule a hearing examination.