About Hearing Loss
The majority of hearing losses are a result of aging—and it starts much earlier than you might think. One in ten Americans has hearing loss and 65 percent of them are below retirement age. Changes in hearing begin at age 20 with significant decline in hearing ability as early as 40 years of age. At age 65 and older, one in three people has some type of hearing impairment. There are three types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive, and mixed.
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the inner ear hair cells are damaged and do not properly transmit sound signals to the brain. It is the most common type of hearing loss. Causes of sensorineural hearing loss:
- Excessive noise exposure
- Viral infections (such as measles or mumps)
- Ototoxic drugs (medications that damage hearing)
- High fever
- Meniere’s disease (a disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance)
- Acoustic tumors
Conductive hearing loss is typically the result of obstructions in the outer or middle ear, which prevent sound from reaching the inner ear. Many conductive hearing losses can be treated medically or surgically. Causes of conductive hearing loss:
- Infections of the ear canal or middle ear
- Perforation or scarring of the eardrum
- Wax buildup
- Dislocation of the middle ear bones (ossicles)
- Foreign objects in the ear canal
- Otosclerosis (an abnormal bone growth in the middle ear)
- Abnormal growths or tumors
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
Meet Dr. Lowkes
While taking an ‘Anatomy’ class, I became fascinated by the complexities of the human ear and decided to become an Audiologist.
I received my Masters Degree in Audiology from the University of Connecticut and my Doctorate in Audiology from the Arizona School of Health Sciences.
Having fallen in love with Vermont while attending UVM, I returned in 2001 and have practiced audiology in the Manchester area ever since.