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Having to deal with being hard of hearing can be difficult, but it helps to have a clear picture of what is involved in losing one's ability to hear. Including the kinds of loss that can be experienced and what can be done to treat them and hearing loss prevention.
Hard of hearing is what happens when the ability of the human ear or brain to translate incoming sound waves into understandable sounds that the brain can understand is either partially or fully either through illness, injury, birth defects, aging, or the ingestion of specific kinds of drugs.
Over the years however, the term itself has come to be seen as rather limiting in its own right, and instead of using the word "impairment" most people prefer that the term 'deaf' or 'hard of hearing' be used instead.
When dealing with the ability to hear, it is important to understand that there are a great number of levels and types.
Some of these are so trivial as to only impact the very edges of hearing sensitivity and perhaps affect the person's threshold marginally. Usually these kinds of loss do not have any sort of permanent impact on a person’s quality of living.
But the more serious you are hard of hearing, the more it is likely to interfere with one's ability to live a normal kind of life.
For those who suffer from more severe problems, the effects of the loss on one's daily routine is quite extreme and of course you could also require tinnitus relief.
For example, those who suffer from even intermediate levels of depreciation lose the ability to appreciate music, listen to the television, stay on key when singing, or engage in activities that require the ability to distinguish between individual sounds.
If you lose your ability to hear permanently it means that there is no way for it to be corrected either by the use of technology or through medical procedures such as surgery.
When one loses one’s hearing permanently it changes your quality of life.
You may lose the ability to work in certain kinds of jobs, operate certain kinds of machinery and converse in the usual way without intervention.
For those who are born without the ability to hear, there are plenty of resources available to improve their standard of living.
From telephones that translate voice into readable text to on-site sign-language experts.
They are made available to interpret board meetings and seminar speeches into understandable language for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. The number of resources is continually growing.
However, for those that have been able to hear normally and who lose their hearing due to an illness, an injury, use of selective drugs or other means.
Plenty of individuals resist the kind of help that is provided out of a resistance to admitting that they really do have a problem.
Your loss, as mentioned previously, is usually either congenital (you are born with it) or acquired.
If you are born without the ability to hear, many times it is due to a birth defect that has caused the inner ear to be misshapen or to not develop fully.
Although this might also be due to a specific area of the brain not ‘kicking in’ when it is supposed to, so the ear hears fine, but the brain simply cannot process the sounds it hears.
The sounds reach a ‘dead end’ and are never translated by the brain and so are never ‘heard.’
Those who lose their hearing usually do so either from a specific event, such as an illness or injury, or it may develop over time thanks to exposure to certain kinds of noises.
A loss of hearing can be defined as the point at which the ear sensitivity in a particular species falls beneath the range that is considered to be “normal” for that particular species.
The ability to be able to hear within that range is usually determined by using an audiometer in order to determine whether or not the person (or animal) in question has lost the ability to function properly.
When it comes to diseases, there are a number of things that can be contracted which can lead to permanent loss.
Strangely enough, common childhood diseases such as measles and mumps can cause hearing loss, as can diseases such as meningitis and syphilis as well as suppurative labyrinthitis.
There are also a number of drugs that can lead to you being hearing impaired including certain types of drugs such as Aminoglycosides, Antimetabolites, Loop diuretics and even Salicylates (like aspirin).
This is especially true if other conditions are in place and the drugs are used or prescribed without the realization that the conditions are pre-existing and then they interact with them to bring about permanent loss.
Then of course there are specific kinds of head trauma which can injure the brain or the means by which the ear communicates with the brain.
But perhaps the most insidious of injuries occurs by the damage accrued over time through exposure to loud noises.
There are so many noises that we take for granted as part of our daily existence.
Everything from police sirens to construction equipment.
The revving of large truck engines to the sounds of aircraft and train engines and even the decibel level of certain kinds of bands and the use of earphones to project music directly into the inner ear.
All of these noises combine to create dangerously loud noise levels and damage your ability to hear over time leading you to being hard of hearing.