There is also concern that patients may overlook treatable or even insidious causes of hearing loss. The American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery outlines 10 red flags of hearing loss that warrant specialist evaluation. These include:
- Sudden onset of hearing loss;
- Deformity of the ear;
- Unremitting tinnitus;
- Ear drainage;
- Asymmetric hearing loss;
- Conductive hearing loss; and
- Complex history (e.g., ear infections, noise exposure, autoimmune disorder, ototoxic medication use, otosclerosis).
It is important that we emphasize these red flags to the lay population and even advocate that these be included on OTC hearing aid packaging.
—Dr. Contrera is with Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Dr. Moberly is with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, and Dr. Babu is with the Michigan Ear Institute