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Patients may present with a complaint of hearing loss or other symptoms, such as tinnitus, a sensation of pressure or fullness in the ear, dizziness or vertigo. In other cases, a family member may question the patient's hearing abilities. Patients at increased risk for hearing loss include persons over age 65 and those with a personal history of noise exposure or a family history of hearing loss. Any patient who has been diagnosed as having a condition associated with hearing loss, such as otosclerosis, Meniere's disease or diabetes mellitus, should be audiologically evaluated.

Nonmedical intervention may include the use of hearing aids, assistive listening or alerting devices, speech and language therapy or aural rehabilitation therapy. Decisions regarding hearing aid use are guided by not only the type and degree of hearing loss but also the potential detrimental effects that the loss may have on communication. In children, early intervention with amplification.

Current hearing aids vary in size and operate using sophisticated circuitry, including digital electronics. These advanced technologies can better address patients' communication problems.

Candidates for cochlear implantation include adults with bilateral severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss who experience no benefit from hearing aids or assistive devices. Children age two and older with profound hearing loss may also be candidates for cochlear implantation. The cochlear implant is an electronic device that bypasses damaged sensory receptors and directly stimulates.


Commonly Used

Ototoxic/Vestibulotoxic Medications

Cisplatin (PlatinoI-AQ) Carboplatin (Paraplatin) Gentamicin (Garamycin) Tobramycin (Nebcin) Vancomycin (Vancocin) Furosemide (Lasix) 

The extent and type of remediation needed is determined by each patient's communication requirements. Hearing impairment can have serious quality-of-life implications, and early detection, diagnosis and intervention are important factors in restoring.