Hearing loss and hearing aids

Catherine V. Palmer, Amanda Ortmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Many individuals presenting with compromised vestibular systems also have hearing loss. For some of these patients, the hearing loss is related directly to the vestibular disorder, and for others, it may be a function of age or simply a pre-existing condition. In either case, it is helpful if primary care physicians and otolaryngologists or otoneurologists understand the impact of hearing loss on individual well-being and ability to communicate with health care providers. Patients who have vestibular disorder and nonmedically treatable hearing loss should be sent to an audiologist to pursue amplification or other appropriate communication solutions. Reports describing the vestibular diagnosis should accompany patients. These help audiologists better understand the nature of the current and perhaps future hearing loss. Programmable hearing aids can be adjusted to work with progressive hearing losses and hearing aids with multiple programs can work with fluctuating hearing losses. Although individuals may be frustrated with persistent vestibular problems, they have a sense of well-being knowing they are able to do something proactive about their hearing. In addition, this is a time when patients who have vestibular problems are communicating with a variety of health professionals and compromised hearing can have a negative impact on these interactions. Physicians working with patients who have hearing loss should talk normally or with a slightly raised voice if individuals do not use amplification. Shouting distorts the signal and makes the speaker look angry. Try not to mumble or lower the sound intensity of words at the end of sentences. Make sure to face the persons who have a hearing loss and that any bright light is shining at the speaker and not in the eyes of listeners. Most people who have hearing loss rely heavily on seeing speakers' faces. Individuals who are hearing impaired and receive a recommendation from physicians to pursue amplification are more likely to comply with treatment [45]. Physicians should make sure that they have an ongoing relationship with audiologists who can provide these essential services to their patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)901-918
Number of pages18
JournalNeurologic Clinics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005


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