Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss Specialist
Hearing loss is so gradual that some patients don’t notice a change until communication becomes challenging. Dr. Mary Totten at Aurora ENT in Anchorage, Alaska, provides comprehensive evaluation and treatment for hearing loss in adults and in children. With nearly 25 years of experience in otolaryngology, Dr. Totten is the physician of choice when it comes to preserving and improving your hearing.

Hearing Loss Q & A

by Mary C. Totten, M.D.

What are the signs of hearing loss?

People suffering from hearing loss often don’t know that their hearing has diminished. These signs might be an indication of hearing loss:

  • Frequently asking others to repeat themselves
  • Difficulty keeping up with conversations when several people are involved
  • Needing to face the speaker in order to hear what they say
  • Struggling to hear others in a noisy room or when background noise is present
  • Difficulty hearing women and children speaking
  • Needing the TV volume higher than others in the room

Ringing in the ears is another indication of hearing loss.

What causes hearing loss?

There are two kinds of hearing loss: sensorineural and conductive. The causes of sensorineural hearing loss include advanced age, injury, extended exposure to loud noise, diabetes, meningitis, shingles, smoking, genetics, hypertension, and medications that can damage hearing.

The causes of conductive hearing loss are usually related to an obstruction and include:

  • Middle ear infections
  • Foreign object
  • Ruptured eardrum: Scarred eardrum
  • Buildup of wax in the canal
  • Growths or tumors in the ear
  • Dislocation of the bones in the middle ear

What kind of doctor treats hearing loss?

Patients generally start the conversation about hearing loss with their primary care doctor and then are referred to an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor) for further evaluation and treatment.

Which treatment options are available?

The treatment for hearing loss depends on the cause. When hearing loss is related to obstruction, treatment involves removing the obstruction. That may be done through medication, irrigation, or a minor surgical procedure.

When the cause of hearing loss is sensorineural, hearing aids or cochlear implants are generally successful in restoring hearing.

Are hearing aids covered by insurance?

In most cases, hearing aides are not covered by insurance. Medicare Part B covers a diagnostic hearing exam as well as balance exams, but not the cost of the hearing aids. Patients can learn more about planning financially for hearing aides by visiting with the financial team at Aurora ENT.

When is it important to see a doctor?

Sometimes hearing loss is an indicator of a serious underlying condition, so scheduling a diagnostic hearing exam as soon as hearing loss is noticed is critical. Getting examined early can rule out significant health problems or result in earlier diagnosis and intervention of a serious underlying condition.

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Mary Totten, M.D.
3340 Providence Drive
A461
Anchorage, AK 99508