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Ask the Expert: Is my hearing loss treatable?

Answers provided by Kristen Benjaminson, Au.D., CCC-A of Janning ENT

Is my hearing loss treatable?

More than 48 million Americans experience hearing loss. While this condition is often viewed as an inevitable part of aging, over half of all patients are otherwise healthy adults under the age of 65. Regular hearing screenings are an invaluable tool in identifying problems early and taking steps to prevent further hearing damage before it is too late.

Fortunately, nearly all types of hearing loss are treatable by an audiologist. I encourage you to schedule an appointment for a hearing assessment during the month of October, recognized nationwide as Audiology Awareness Month.

Audiology is the study of hearing and balance disorders. The goal of this national month-long observance is to raise awareness of audiology and the importance of hearing protection in preventing hearing loss.

Kristen Benjaminson, Au.D., CCC-A. Contributed photo

What causes hearing loss?

Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors including noise exposure, trauma, diseases of the inner and middle ear, ear infections, excess earwax and certain medications. It can happen so gradually, you may not even be aware of a problem until it has reached an advanced stage.

Signs and symptoms of hearing loss may include difficulty understanding others (hearing them talk, but not having clarity to follow the conversation), asking for repetition or saying “what” frequently, having a hard time separating speech from those distraction background noises, needing the volume turned up to higher levels (which others would find too loud) and tinnitus (ringing or other sounds in the ears).

What is an audiologist?

Audiologists are licensed and certified professionals with advanced degrees in the hearing and balance sciences. We evaluate, diagnose and treat hearing and balance disorders in children and adults; prescribe, fit and dispense hearing devices; and provide hearing rehabilitation training and counseling to patients and their families.

We also treat individuals of all ages with tinnitus and central auditory processing disorders, and are often involved in developing hearing conservation programs and newborn hearing screenings. Audiologists work in settings as varied as hospitals, clinics, ENT offices, universities, schools, government, military and Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals.

Hearing care at Janning ENT

At Janning ENT, I work closely with Dr. Janning for a team approach toward evaluating and treating hearing loss. This ensures you receive the most comprehensive medical care, diagnosis and management for your hearing loss, regardless of the severity. For most hearing losses, hearing aids are the treatment plan. However, something as simple as a wax impaction could be causing hearing loss, and we can take care of that!

Your hearing is crucial to your well-being. If you are committed to taking care of your hearing health, contact us today for a comprehensive hearing evaluation.

Janning ENT is located at 1801 19th Ave SW in Willmar. Contact them at 320-231-3277 to make an appointment or email Website:

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