Hearing Loss
Find the right expert for you

Find the right expert for you

If you have noticed that you, or a member of your family, are experiencing hearing loss, there are several different experts who can offer you help and support.

We have made a list of experts with a brief description of their work in order to help you find the expert who is right for you.

Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor(ENT specialist)

ENT specialists diagnose and treat problems related to the ears, nose and throat. In most cases, the ENT specialist will diagnose hearing loss. In some regions, they are known as ENT surgeons or other common professional titles. Your primary care physician will be happy to give you the information you need.


An audiologist is a healthcare expert who focuses on all aspects of audiology, i.e. the science of hearing. An audiologist offers services in connection with preventing hearing loss, evaluation and rehabilitation, selection and fitting of hearing aids and other related issues such as communication or balance problems. The science of hearing loss in children is a separate field and this service is usually provided by specialist paediatric audiologists.

Speech Therapist

The speech therapist works with the theoretical and practical issues of the prevention, diagnosis, therapy and rehabilitation of speech problems. In healthcare, this field is called logopaedics, focussing on people with limited interpersonal communication abilities.


The support of a psychologist can be helpful under certain circumstances: He or she will support you or your family member in examining human behaviour or dealing with extraordinary stress. Psychologists may specialize in certain areas, e.g. school or training.

How much noise is too much?

How much noise is too much?

Sounds at or above 85 decibels (dB) can damage your ears. A decibel is a unit that measures the intensity of sound. Sounds that humans can hear are measured on a scale from zero to 140. A normal conversation is about 60 dB. Chainsaws, hammer drills, and bulldozers ring in at over 100 dB. So if you are a construction worker, harmful sounds may be a regular part of your job. The same goes for people working around lawn mowers and factory machinery every day. Airport workers and farmers are two more groups that are regularly exposed to loud noise. However, loud noise does not have to be an everyday happening to cause damage. One-time exposure to very loud noises, such as the sound of a gun firing at close range, can harm your ears permanently.

See the How Loud Is Too Loud bookmark.

How can I protect my hearing in noisy situations?

Wear ear plugs or special earmuffs when you are exposed to dangerous levels of noise; they can keep your hearing from being damaged. Hearing protection is important any time you're exposed to loud noise.

Where can I buy hearing protection devices?

Several types of protective earplugs and earmuffs are available in most pharmacies, hardware stores, and sporting goods stores.

What should I tell others about hearing protection?

You can share what you know about NIHL with your family, friends, classmates, and co-workers. If you have children, explain to them that hearing is delicate and important. Call their attention to sounds that are harmful. Encourage them to protect their ears by avoiding loud noises or using special earmuffs. If they are too young to protect themselves, do it for them. For your co-workers and other family members, make a copy of this flyer and share what you know about NIHL.

What's the tips for communication

What's the tips for communication

Communicating Better With Older People

Communicating with older people often requires extra time and patience because of physical, psychological, and social changes of normal aging.

Even more effort is needed in nursing homes where 60% to 90% of residents may actually have communication disabilities.

Speech-language pathologists Martin Shulman and Ellen Mandel offer these tips for family members and caregivers to make communicating with older people easier:

  • Reduce background noisesthat may be distracting (e.g., turn off the radio or TV, close the door, or move to a quieter place)
  • Begin the conversation withcasual topics (e.g., the weather or what the person had for lunch). Avoid crucial messages at the beginning.
  • Talk aboutfamiliar subjects such as family members and special interests of the person
  • Stick to a topic. Avoid quick shifts from topic to topic.
  • Keepsentences and questions short.
  • Give older personsa moment to reminisce. Their memories are important to them.
  • Allow extra time for responding.Don't hurry them.
  • Give the older personchoices to ease decision making. (e.g., "Do you want tea or coffee?" rather than "What do you want to drink?")
  • Be an active listener. Look for hints from eye gaze and gestures. Take a guess (e.g., "Are you talking about the TV news? Yes? Tell me more. I didn't see it.")

After your visit, tell others who visit (relatives, physicians, nurses, aides, etc.) what you've learned to improve communicating with the older person.

What does the human ear consist of

What does the human ear consist of

The Outer Ear

The outer ear consists of the pinna, or auricle, and the ear canal (external auditory meatus). The pinna – the part of the "ear" that we see on each side of our heads – is made of cartilage and soft tissue so that it keeps a particular shape but is also flexible. The pinna serves as a collector of sound vibrations around us and guides the vibrations into the ear canal. It helps us decide the direction and source of sound.

The Middle Ear

The middle ear begins with the eardrum at the end of the ear canal. The middle ear contains three tiny bones, called the ossicles. These three bones form a connection from the eardrum to the inner ear. As sound waves hit the eardrum, the eardrum moves back and forth causing the ossicles to move. As a result, the sound wave is changed to a mechanical vibration.

The Inner Ear

The inner ear contains the sensory organs for hearing and balance. The cochlea is the hearing part of the inner ear. The semicircular canals in the inner ear are part of our balance system.

The cochlea is a bony structure shaped like a snail and filled with two fluids (endolymph and perilymph). The Organ of Corti is the sensory receptor inside the cochlea which holds the hair cells, the nerve receptors for hearing.

The mechanical energy from movement of the middle ear bones pushes in a membrane (the oval window) in the cochlea. This force moves the cochlea's fluids that, in turn, stimulate tiny hair cells. Individual hair cells respond to specific sound frequencies (pitches) so that, depending on the pitch of the sound, only certain hair cells are stimulated.

Signals from these hair cells are changed into nerve impulses. The nerve impulses are sent out to the brain by the cochlear portion of the auditory nerve. The auditory nerve carries impulses from the cochlea to a relay station in the mid-brain, the cochlear nucleus. These nerve impulses are then carried on to other brain pathways that end in the auditory cortex (hearing part) of the brain.

Also housed within the inner ear are the semicircular canals, the utricle, and the saccule. These structures help control one’s sense of steadiness or balance. These balance organs share the temporal bone space with the cochlea. These organs also share the same fluid that is in the cochlea.

Types of Hearing Loss

Types of Hearing Loss

When sound is stopped for whatever reason   the brain can no longer process the information accurately.  Sound can be muffled, softer, even distorted.  Hearing loss can be temporary, medically treated, or progressive.  Understanding the nature of the loss will better prepare you for your options.

Conductive Hearing Loss:
This type of hearing loss is caused by problems in the ear canal and/or the structures in the middle ear. It occurs when sounds from the outside world cannot be transmitted normally through the ear canal and/or middle ear to the inner ear.
The most common causes of conductive hearing loss can be a buildup of wax in the ear canal, perforated eardrums, fluid in the middle ear (common in children), or damaged or effective ossicles (middle ear bones).
A person with conductive hearing loss may notice their ears seem to be full or plugged. Most conductive hearing losses can be medically or surgically treated. If, for some reason, the hearing loss cannot be corrected, hearing instruments can provide benefit.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss:
This type of hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss. More than 90 percent of all hearing instrument wearers have sensorineural hearing loss.
It results from a combination of problems in the inner ear and the auditory nerve. They then become unable to convert sound vibrations into the electrical signals needed by the auditory nerve.
The nerve pathways in the auditory nerve itself can also become damaged, preventing the signals from reaching the brain. Although this damage can be caused by exposure to loud noise - through working in a noisy environment for too long - the primary reason is aging.
People with sensorineural hearing loss typically report they can hear people speak, but can't understand what they're saying.  Hearing instruments and assistive devices can help.

Mixed Hearing Loss:
This kind of hearing loss is caused by a combination of problems in the middle and the inner ear or the auditory nerve. For example, the person may have a noise induced hearing loss from noise exposure and a perforation in the eardrum. The combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing therefore the loss is mixed.