Hearing & Balance - Atlanta Institute for ENT

Hearing & Balance

Hearing Loss

Losing the ability to hear other people speak can be very disconcerting to say the least. Having conversations with others becomes next to impossible, which can negatively impact your relationships. Activities like listening to the radio or talking on the telephone, which you may have once taken for granted, also become a challenge. But there are remedies that can be taken. The ear specialists at the Atlanta Institute for ENT are highly trained in finding solutions to your hearing problems.

Medically, there are two major types of hearing impairment. Conductive hearing loss involves the ear canal, ear drum, or middle ear and its tiny bones (the malleus, incus and stapes). It usually results from a wax blockage, punctured eardrum, birth defect or ear infection. Some people may also have a genetic predisposition to this condition. People with conductive hearing loss usually hear sounds that are muffled and very low-pitched or quiet. Conductive hearing loss generally can be corrected surgically.

Sensorineural—or “nerve”—hearing loss involves damage to the inner ear. It can be caused by aging, prenatal and birth-related problems, viral and bacterial infections, genetics, trauma (such as a severe blow to the head), exposure to loud noises, the use of certain drugs, or fluid buildup or a benign tumor in the inner ear. People with sensorineural hearing loss typically hear unclear or muffled speech when others talk to them, have ringing in their ears (tinnitus), and have an especially difficult time hearing in noisy surroundings. Sensorineural hearing loss usually can’t be repaired surgically; it normally must be corrected with a hearing aid.

According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, one in five Americans 12 years or older have hearing loss so severe that it makes communication difficult. If you are one of them, you may considering the purchase of a hearing aid. But before you do, you will need to determine whether a hearing aid will work for you and what to look for when shopping for one.

This is probably not something you will be able to figure out all on your own. We recommend you make an appointment with one of our ENT doctors and our licensed audiologist. They will conduct a physical examination and a hearing test to determine the cause and extent of your hearing impairment, and what treatment or hearing aid is right for you. To schedule an appointment, please call 404-257-1589.


Karin A. Lockridge, M.S., CCC/A, FAAA

Board Certified Audiologist

Karin Lockridge has over 26 years of experience in the field of audiology. A Chicagoland native, she attended Illinois State University where she earned both a Master’s Degree in Science aand Bachelor of Science from the Audiology Department.

Lockridge’s professional career spans many years with experience in a wide range of settings including ENT offices, Neo-natal Intensive Care Units, inside hearing aid manufacturing plants, becoming an expert witness in her field and private practice audiology. She also went on the become the Director of Audiology at Piedmont ENT as well as as well as start her own Audiological Consulting Company. She earned her board certification with the American Board of Audiology in 2002.

She has experience in a wide range of hearing testing methods including auditory brainstem response (ABR), electrocochleography (ECOG) and electronystagmography (ENG), as well as hearing aid fitting services. Lockridge’s work and passion for her field has repeatedly earned her the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) Scholar Award. She is a fellow with the AAA and a member of the American Speech and Hearing Association.

In her spare time she enjoys spending time on the Appalachian Trail or traveling the world seeking new hiking trails to discover and explore.

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