Skip to content

50+: Live Better, Longer

Font Size

4 Steps to Severe Hearing Loss Treatment

WebMD Feature

When I was a kid, phone conversations with my grandmother went something like this:


Recommended Related to Healthy Seniors

6 Low-Impact Exercises as You Age

As you age, it's a good idea to downshift from high-impact exercises. All that pounding needs to give way to something that's more in line with what your body needs now. Add these six low-impact moves to your exercise routine. They come from Jacque Ratliff, exercise physiologist and education specialist with the American Council on Exercise.

Read the 6 Low-Impact Exercises as You Age article > >

"Hi, Grandma. It's me, Stephanie!"

(Pause) "Hello?"

(Louder) "Hi, Grandma!"


(Shouting) "HI, GRANDMA!!!"


At family gatherings, my relatives got so tired of repeating themselves that they left Grandma out of conversations. Even as a kid, I realized how isolated she must have felt due to her severe hearing loss.

My grandmother never got a hearing aid because she worried that wearing a huge piece of equipment behind her ear would alert the whole world to her hearing loss. Anyone who shares the same fear today should know this:

Times have changed. These aren't your grandma's hearing aids.

"I like to say that the hearing loss is more visible to others than the hearing aid," says Pam Mason, director of audiology professional practices at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). "Hearing aids today are behind the ear, very small, with a tiny wire that goes down into your ear canal. They truly are invisible."

Hearing aids are not the only hearing loss treatments available. There are other options, including middle ear implants and cochlear implants. But before you can get a hearing aid or any other hearing device, you need to first find out what's causing your hearing loss.

Step 1: Get Your Hearing Evaluated

The time to see a specialist is as soon as you start experiencing signs of hearing loss:

  • You're turning up the TV or radio volume louder than usual
  • You have ringing in your ears
  • You have trouble distinguishing conversations from background noise
  • Your family and friends have to repeat themselves
  • You have difficulty hearing on the telephone
  • You notice a difference between the right and left ear

The hearing evaluation and treatment typically involve a team of specialists that includes an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor, also called an otolaryngologist, and an audiologist.

"The first thing is to do a complete evaluation of the patient from a head and neck standpoint and understand the nature of the hearing loss," explains Anand K. Devaiah, MD, FACS, associate professor in the department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Boston University School of Medicine.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

Eating for a longer, healthier life.
woman biking
How to stay vital in your 50s and beyond.
womans finger tied with string
Learn how we remember, and why we forget.
man reviewing building plans
Do you know how to stay healthy as you age?
fast healthy snack ideas
how healthy is your mouth
dog on couch
doctor holding syringe
champagne toast
Two women wearing white leotards back to back
Man feeding woman
two senior women laughing