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Specializing in problems of the Ear, nose, sinuses and throat.

An ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT) is a physician trained in the medical and surgical treatment of the ears, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck. They have special expertise in managing diseases of the ears, nose and nasal passage sinuses, larynx (voice box), oral cavity and upper pharynx (mouth and throat), as well as structures of the neck and face. ENT is the oldest medical specialty in the United States.

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Michael Burnett, MD


Types of Hearing Loss

You often have to speak louder while talking to your granny. She probably has presbycusis –hearing loss associated with advanced age. Senior citizens are not the only people who struggle with hearing; it is the third widely spread health issue in America.

Every dysfunctional ear –either partially or wholly –is not dysfunctional due to age. There is a different story to each hearing loss with variant causes. Being unable to hear properly can be disturbing. The ear-damage may cause some serious damage to mental health; frustration and anxiety may set in.

Types of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss does not necessarily mean that you won’t be able to hear any sound again. Sometimes the damage occurs in only one of the two ears. Also, only the inner layer is has a problem in some cases.

1.    Sensorineural Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss is often a result of a damaged inner ear (cochlea) or hearing nerve. People struggling with inner ear hearing loss find the sounds softer, making it difficult to understand.

Sensorineural hearing loss may occur due to aging, a head injury, overexposure to loud noises, heredity, or an adverse medical reaction.

2.    Conductive Hearing Loss

When the outer or the middle ear stops sound vibrations from traveling into the inner ear, conductive hearing loss occurs. The sound gets muffled, especially when the background is too noisy.

If a baby is born with a malformation such as Microtia, or Atresia, he/she may suffer from hearing loss. People with down syndrome, chronic middle ear infections, or draining ears are also prone to conductive hearing loss. A cyst or benign tumor may also cause hearing impairment.

3.    Mixed Hearing Loss

A combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss results in mixed hearing impairment. In such a condition, both the inner and outer or middle ear gets damaged.

Factors Contributing to Hearing Loss

Several reasons account to partial or full hearing loss. Let’s examine some of the main causes.

·      Aging

A lot of health issues come with aging, one of which is hearing loss. The condition is called presbycusis. One-third of the people in the US aging between 65 and 75 experience hearing loss of some level. The risk doubles for people beyond 75. Our inner ear structure degenerates over time.

·      Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)

Exposure of the ear to loud noises for an extended period –in a  factory, or attending loud concerts frequently – makes you prone to hearing loss. Sometimes a sudden exposure to an explosive sound may damage the inner ear causing a temporary or permanent hearing loss. Prevention is better than cure; wearing earmuffs in a noisy environment can be helpful.

·      Medications

You will be surprised to know that nearly 200 medicines –including some antibiotics –can cause hearing loss.  Chemotherapy drugs can also damage your inner ear. High consumption of aspirin may also lead to tinnitus (ringing in the ear) or complete hearing loss.

·      Illnesses

If you have heart disease, you have diabetes, or high blood pressure, you are at risk of hearing loss. Interruption in the blood supply to the ear causes hearing loss. Inner or middle ear diseases such as Otosclerosis and Meniere can also affect hearing ability.

Degrees of Hearing Loss

The degree of hearing loss varies from person to person depending upon the root cause. Sometimes the process is too slow that one hardly notices any change in hearing pattern.

  • Mild Hearing loss makes it difficult to comprehend words, especially in loud background noise.
  • Moderate hearing loss compels the listener to ask people to repeat their words.
  • In case of severe hearing loss, you can’t hear anything unless you have a hearing aid.
  • For profound hearing loss, you may have to undergo a cochlear implant.

Bottom Line

You can prevent your ears from damaging. If your hearing ability is affected due to any reason, seek medical help. Contact us today to book an appointment with the best Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor in NYC.

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Michael C. Burnett, MD

115 East 57th Street
Suite 600
Between Park + Lexington Avenues

212-867-4813