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Common Hearing Concerns

Norfolk Audiology is committed to providing world-class hearing healthcare services to residents of Norfolk and nearby communities. We believe in patient-centered care, focusing on individual goals, lifestyles, and communication gaps of our patients that need to be filled.

Aside from specializing in tinnitus diagnosis and treatment, Norfolk Audiology – led by Dr. Katie Gamerl – also specializes in hearing loss, hearing aid fitting, and assistive listening devices.

Our clinic also addresses common hearing concerns including:

Hearing Loss 

Hearing loss is a common auditory concern caused by aging, noise, disease, certain drugs, and heredity. People diagnosed with hearing loss may find it difficult to communicate with friends and family, and may also notice that their performance at work or school may also be affected.

Undiagnosed hearing loss may lead to social withdrawal, social isolation, depression, or anxiety. Sometimes, people with hearing loss may be mistaken to be confused, uncooperative, or unresponsive because they don’t hear well and withdraw from social situations.

If you suspect that you or a loved one may have a hearing problem, consult an audiologist right away. Norfolk Audiology offers a wide range of diagnostic services for hearing loss to address the problem efficiently. We offer hearing aids, assistive listening devices, aural rehabilitation, tinnitus treatment, custom hearing protection, and communication strategies to give our patients a holistic approach to hearing loss management.

Hearing Loss FAQs:

Can hearing loss be cured?

There is no cure for hearing loss, but it is almost always treatable. At Norfolk Audiology, we will work together to find the right treatment for your hearing loss. This treatment will take into account the type and severity of your hearing loss.

What are the 3 types of hearing loss?

Hearing loss can be caused by various factors and affects people of all ages. The three basic types of hearing loss are conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss.

What is the most common cause of hearing loss?

Exposure to loud noises is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Noises from shooting ranges, lawnmowers, live concerts, fireworks displays, etc. can damage the inner ear and lead to permanent hearing loss.

Ear Infections 

Ear infections can either be viral or bacterial infections. They usually occur in the middle ear, the part of the ear just behind the eardrum, but may also affect the outer and inner ear. In most cases, ear infections clear up on their own but it’s best to have it checked by an audiologist to prevent pain or inflammation in case of fluid buildup.

Ear Infection FAQs:

How would I know if I have an ear infection?

The first warning signs of ear infection may involve a feeling of pressure or fullness in the ear, scaly skin around the ear, or discharge draining from the ear. Audiologists use a pneumatic otoscope to diagnose an ear infection. 

How do I get rid of an infection in my ear?

There are various over-the-counter and home remedies to get rid of an ear infection. However, it’s highly recommended that you get your ears checked by an audiologist first before applying OTC or home remedies. Keep in mind that getting a precise diagnosis is key in getting rid of the infection.

Do ear infections go away on their own?

In most cases, middle ear infections clear up on their own within 2-3 days, even without any treatment. However, severe ear infections may last longer and may need a few sets of antibiotic treatment for it to clear up.


Tinnitus is a condition where a person experiences ringing in one or both ears. The noise is not totally limited to plain ringing in the ears, sometimes it could present as a buzzing, humming, or thumping sound without any external source.

Tinnitus is a common problem, affecting around 15% to 20% of people in the United States. In most cases, tinnitus is considered as a symptom of an underlying medical condition rather than a disease. It is usually linked to hearing loss, ear trauma, head injury, or a problem with the circulatory system, blood vessels, or arteries.

Treatment of tinnitus will greatly depend on its root cause which highlights the importance of getting an accurate tinnitus evaluation. At Norfolk Audiology, we provide tinnitus diagnostic services to evaluate the type of tinnitus and create a personalized approach to manage tinnitus. 

A hearing or audiological test is performed to test for tinnitus. The results of the hearing test will be correlated with results considered normal for a patient’s age bracket. The data gathered from the hearing test will help rule out or identify possible causes of tinnitus.

Tinnitus FAQs:

How can I relieve tinnitus?

The treatment approach for tinnitus will greatly depend on what’s causing it. Some of the most effective treatments for tinnitus involve cognitive behavioral therapy, noise-canceling headphones, white noise, and lifestyle changes.

What are the first signs of tinnitus?

The first sign of tinnitus is usually experiencing noise in the ears like ringing, buzzing, roaring, hissing, or whistling. These noises may be continuous or intermittent and are most often subjective, which means that only the person experiencing it can hear them.

What are the causes of tinnitus?

Tinnitus may be caused by the following:

  • Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis)
  • Inner ear damage caused by repeated or prolonged exposure to loud noises
  • Middle ear infection
  • Earwax build-up
  • Ménière’s disease 


Earwax is generally good for the ears and in most cases, it is best to leave it alone. In fact, earwax is a natural body secretion, acting like a protective layer and lubricant in the ears. Several tests have shown that earwax has antifungal and antibacterial properties. However, too much earwax is not a good sign.

Excessive earwax can lead to blockage, impaction, and related hearing problems.

Earwax FAQs:

How do you know if you have earwax buildup?

A person with earwax buildup may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Discharge or odor coming from the ear
  • Pain in the ear
  • Muffled hearing (progressive)
  • A feeling of fullness in the ear
  • Ringing in the ear 
  • Itchy ears
  • Dizziness

How often should you clean your ears?

Most people believe that cleaning the ears regularly is part of regular hygiene. This is applicable for the outer ear, but for the inner ear, we highly discourage cleaning it using cotton buds or other sharp instruments because it will put your ears at risk. You can clean your outer ears regularly using a damp towel or cloth. For impacted earwax, getting a professional earwax removal is recommended.

How do you know if you need ear wax removal?

Muffled hearing is one of the first signs of a possible earwax impaction. Dark earwax, itchiness, or pain in the ears are also red flags that need to be checked by an audiologist to avoid further damage or complications.

Meniere’s Disease  

Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disorder that can primarily lead to vertigo and hearing loss. Meniere’s disease can occur at any age, but it is more common among young and middle-aged individuals. This is considered a chronic condition, but there are several treatments that can help relieve symptoms and minimize their long-term impact.

Norfolk Audiology performs diagnostic services for Meniere’s disease. We do this through a series of evaluations including a hearing test and a thorough discussion of a patient’s medical history. To be diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, the following must be present: 

  • Two episodes of vertigo, each lasting between 20 minutes to 12 hours
  • Tinnitus
  • Hearing loss verified by a hearing test

Meniere’s Disease FAQs:

What triggers Meniere’s disease?

The main cause of Meniere’s disease is still unknown. However, medical researchers have leaned on data that Meniere’s disease may be triggered by changes in the inner ear tubes and the fluid inside. Other possible triggers of Meniere’s disease include genetics, autoimmune disorders, and allergies.

What is the best treatment for Meniere’s disease?

If Meniere’s disease is primarily linked to an imbalance of the inner ear fluid, diuretics are the primary treatment used. With the use of diuretics, the overproduction of the inner ear can be regulated. Diuretics can also minimize the occurrence of vertigo which could also help stabilize hearing.

Does Meniere’s disease go away?

There’s no cure for Meniere’s disease yet, and doctors consider Meniere’s disease as a progressive condition with intermittent periods of remission for no apparent reason. The best approach for Meniere’s disease to date is proper management of symptoms to provide relief for the patient.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) occurs after inner ear damage. A person diagnosed with SNHL may have problems with the nerve pathways lining the inner ear toward the brain. With sensorineural hearing loss, soft sounds may be difficult to hear and loud sounds may sound muffled or distorted. Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of permanent hearing loss.

Hearing aids are the top solution for sensorineural hearing loss. A series of diagnostic tests will be performed to diagnose sensorineural hearing loss including a physical inspection of the ears, tuning fork tests, and audiograms.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss FAQs:

Can sensorineural hearing loss be corrected?

Once sensorineural hearing loss is present, the tiny hair-like cells of the inner ear are already damaged. Once they are damaged, they cannot regenerate or repair themselves. To deal with sensorineural hearing loss, hearing aids or cochlear implants may be recommended.

Will sensorineural hearing loss get worse over time?

Yes, sensorineural hearing loss may progress and get worse over time. Exposure to loud noises may worsen hearing loss, hence, we highly recommend using hearing protection as needed.

Can stress cause sensorineural hearing loss?

While stress is not the main cause of sensorineural hearing loss, various studies have shown that stress may be an attributive factor for hearing loss. When the body is stressed, it produces adrenaline as a natural response. However, the overproduction of adrenaline reduces blood flow to the ears, which could affect hearing.

Professional Audiology Services in Norfolk, NE 

Norfolk Audiology offers world-class hearing healthcare services to residents of Norfolk and nearby areas. We are dedicated to providing patient-centered care, focusing on individual goals, lifestyles, and unique communication gaps of our patients.

The journey to better hearing starts with an accurate diagnosis of your hearing concerns. 

Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

Learn more about how we can help.

We offer solutions that include hearing aids, assistive devices, aural rehabilitation, tinnitus treatment, and custom hearing protection.