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How is hearing loss diagnosed?

Your doctor will do a physical exam and ask about your symptoms and past health. He or she also may look in your ears with a lighted device called an otoscope.

If your doctor thinks that you have hearing loss, he or she will do hearing tests to check whether you have hearing loss and find out how severe it is. You may be referred to an audiologist to do the tests. These tests may include:

  • A tuning fork test, which helps your doctor know which kind of hearing loss you have.
  • Other tests to find out what kind of hearing loss you have or which part of your ear is affected.

How is it treated?

Your doctor can help you decide on the best treatment. Noise-induced or age-related hearing loss can be treated with hearing devices, such as hearing aids. Other devices can help alert you to sounds around the house like the phone or doorbell. If hearing aids don't work for you, cochlear implants may be an option.

You also can learn ways to live with reduced hearing, such as paying attention to people's gestures, facial expressions, posture, and tone of voice.

In other types of hearing loss, you can treat the problem that caused the hearing loss. For example, you may remove earwax or take medicine for an infection to help your hearing come back.

How can you prevent hearing loss?

  • Avoid loud noise, such as noise from machines at your work, power tools, very loud music, and very loud motorcycles.
  • Turn down the volume on anything that you listen to through ear buds or headphones, such as MP3 players.
  • Wear hearing protection, such as earplugs or earmuffs.
  • Avoid putting objects in your ear.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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