If You're Now Losing Your Ability to Hear, Time for You to Learn More
You’ll find two general kinds of hearing loss, conductive, and sensorineural. However, for some, the cause may even be classified as mixed.
Table of Content
How Noise Affects Your Ability to Hear
To understand how you lose your ability to hear, you first need to know what happens typically inside your ear. Sometimes earwax does build up in your ear and block your hearing like a plug. Early symptoms of auditory nerve damage may also involve hearing or balance problems as the auditory system communicates information about sound and body positioning to the brain.
The most frequent reason, sensorineural, is generally irreversible and permanent. And is caused by factors such as ageing, infections, or exposure to loud noise. The same way we can overload an electrical circuit, we can overload with too much noise or sounds that are too loud.
Individuals That Have Bilateral Hearing Loss Have Impaired Hearing in Both Ears
Our ability to hear is lost as a person ages, due to high noise levels, because of illnesses, or from toxic medications. Among people who have reported exposure to loud noise at work, almost one third had severe changes.
Familiar sources of damaging noise levels include children’s toys, car stereos, crowds, motor vehicles, lawn and general maintenance equipment, power tools, gun use, musical instruments, and even hair dryers. Usually, this loss is caused by losing tiny hair cells within the inner ear, which really are vital to transmit sound waves to the auditory nerve.
Those hair cells that let us clearly hear higher-frequency sounds go first. Sounds may reach the inner ear, however, because of damage to the cochlea or auditory nerve, it’s not received clearly by the brain. This happens even if it is made sufficiently loud through hearing aids.
- As we get older, the inner ear nerves and sensory cells gradually die.
- Hearing sensitivity will vary according to the frequency of sounds.
- Once damaged, your auditory nerve and cilia cannot be repaired.
- Hearing loss is sensorineural, or conductive.
The auditory nerve has many nerve fibres that carry signals to the brain interpreted as sound. Once they have been damaged, they’re unable to convert sound waves into electrical signals to be sent to the brain, and you won’t hear all the sounds in your location.
Even when sounds are loud enough, they may not be clear enough to understand. High pitched sounds are often lost first, followed by a gradual loss of low tones.
A problem with sounds being sent through the outer or middle ear causes sounds to be muffled. Some people may have a partial loss, meaning that the ear can pick up some sounds and with others it’s a complete loss, meaning that the ear cannot hear.
Most conductive losses can be medically or surgically treated.
While they may hear sounds, people with severe to profound loss may not necessarily understand what they are. It will be much harder to hear any faint sounds, and loud sounds might not seem as loud.
Sometimes other factors affect our ability to hear or not hear certain sounds. How our brain is processing what is heard can be an essential factor. For most people with, hearing aids can solve and bridge that gap and give you back the sounds you’re missing.
The Causes of Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural is the most common type, and 90% of all hearing aid wearers have sensorineural. This can’t be cured or reversed, but treating sensorineural with a device will allow you to hear clearer.
Gradual sensorineural that can occur as we age is normal and is called presbycusis. Suppose you are exposed to high noise levels. In that case, you may also experience sensorineural, as the hair cells in the inner ear get damaged from high levels of noise.
Exposure to Any Loud Sounds Will Cause Hearing Loss
The causes of a sensorineural loss can be noise, age, medication and lifestyle and genetic causes. The ageing process is a prevalent cause of sensorineural.
Most often, sensorineural loss involves damage to the tiny hair cells. These are activated by sound waves to vibrate and release messages that stimulate the auditory nerve. The majority of sensorineural occurs because of an abnormality or damage to the hair cells in the cochlea.
Listening devices, including cochlear implants, can allow someone with sensorineural to hear again. There is a less common type of sensorineural in which the auditory nerve is damaged. Then it does not send messages to the auditory centres of the brain the same way every time.
Can Hearing Problems Be Cured?
Once those tiny hair cells in the inner ear have been damaged or destroyed, they can’t be repaired, and you’ll lose your ability to hear certain sounds. This hearing loss is permanent. There is not an available cure for sensorineural hearing loss, and the best treatment option is to improve your hearing by wearing hearing aids.
Besides noise-induced other types of impairment can affect people during their teen years. Another factor to consider is whether it happens in one or both ears.
Wearing protectors or taking breaks from the noise can protect your ears. It’s essential to get an appointment with your doctor any time you experience a reduction in one or both ears.
However, hearing aids don’t increase the clarity of speech.
When it is in both ears, this is called bilateral. You can have a loss in just one ear or in both ears, and you can have a mixed.
Sensorineural not only involves a reduction in sound level, and the ability to hear faint sounds, but will also affects speech understanding, or the ability to hear clearly. The primary symptoms of sensorineural is a reduction in clarity. Voices may sound muffled, the television has to be loud to be heard, or trouble understanding what is being listened to.
What Is the Reason for Conductive Hearing Loss?
Conductive loss usually happens when something in the outer ear or middle ear blocks or impedes the passage of sound waves to the inner ear. You can simulate a conductive by wearing earplugs.
Conductive is more likely to be temporary and can often be corrected medically or surgically. However, suppose medication or surgery does not work or is not an appropriate treatment. In that case, many people with conductive can be fitted with a hearing aid.
Sometimes, Medical Intervention Will Correct the Hearing Loss
And some people are born with an abnormal ear or missing an ear canal, which can cause a conductive also. People with conductive loss, who use a listening device, generally do well.
Unlike sensorineural, most conductive losses can be medically or surgically treated. A person with typical hearing experiences sounds in all areas of the speech spectrum as loud and clear.
- Treatment for any hearing loss could improve your life significantly.
- Folic acid is proven to be necessary to ear health.
- Early identification and support are essential for children.
- Sign language can help communication between people.
The terms impaired or hard of hearing are usually reserved for people with relative inability to hear sound in the speech frequencies. People with a mild loss can listen to speech when someone is speaking close to them or if the room is quiet.
About half of those people affected globally have preventable loss by taking the correct precautions. For many, hearing aids, sign language, cochlear implants and subtitles are useful. Though it’s not always avoidable, the best way to protect against conductive loss is to take good care of your ears.
Audiology professionals often find it beneficial to treat the conductive factors first, since they can often be cured. A person with a mild inability may hear some speech sounds, but soft sounds are hard to hear.
It may happen when specific cells in the inner ear are damaged.
Parents must understand that deafness is not an all-or-nothing categorisation and that hard of hearing is not defined by the loss being in the middle decibel ranges. Many cases of or deafness are preventable; however, that which caused by loud noises can be prevented, and prevention efforts can start at any age.
Conductive loss is commonly caused by a problem with the eardrum, membranes, or bones in the middle ear. Common causes of conductive are wax build-up, fluid or infection in the middle ear, perforated eardrum or damage to the middle ear bones.
Will Hearing Aids Help?
There is no cure for sensorineural, and the best treatment option is to improve your ability to hear by wearing a device. Access to these, however, is limited in many areas of the world.
If you have an impairment in both of your ears, two hearing aids are generally recommended. This is because two will provide a more natural signal to the brain. Fortunately, mild impairment is correctable with a hearing aid.
Each Type Has Unique Causes and Different Treatment Options
Suppose your loss is severe, does not respond to treatment, or happens in both ears. Your doctor may then recommend that you use a listening device or even receive cochlear implants. Receiving prompt treatment increases the chance you will recover at least some of your loss.
A combination of medical treatment or surgery might be appropriate for the person with a mixed inability. Cochlear implants are generally suitable when the loss is extensive enough that a conventional hearing aid does not help. And the loss cannot be treated with medication or other surgery.
All treatment options depend on the exact cause. There’s the hope of developing a hair cell regeneration treatment, based on findings that many birds and reptiles with damage can regenerate the cells in their ears.
Can Earwax Lead To Hearing Loss?
Yes, earwax can result in hearing loss. However, it doesn’t occur as commonly as one might think. Very few people who are seen by hearing healthcare professionals have hearing loss literally due to excessive earwax.
But, dependent on the severity of the damage, sensorineural has been successfully treated with hearing aids or cochlear implants. People who suffer from severe impairment will generally have to use powerful devices.
Often they also rely on lip-reading even when using hearing aids. People who suffer from a moderately severe impairment have problems usually when not using hearing aids.
Treatment depends on the severity and reason for the deafness.
Mixed can sometimes be treated with medical management, and hearing aids are a standard treatment recommendation. Irreversible sensorineural is the most common form and may be managed with a hearing aid.
Depending on the person’s health, solutions to moderate impairment could include more powerful devices, middle ear implants, or bone conduction implants. When everyday devices are not enough, this can be surgically treated with cochlear implants.