Loss of hearing, and what you should know about deafness and hearing loss?

Loss of hearing is the impairment of the ability to hear sounds. It could be a sudden or a progressive impairment that gradually gets worse over time.

Table of Content

1. There are common causes of loss of hearing.
2.
The consequences of a loss of hearing.
3. What is the cause of sudden deafness?
4. Can my loss of hearing be treated?

There are common causes of loss of hearing.

Anybody who suffers from mild loss of hearing has difficulty keeping up with everyday conversations. People who suffer from a profound loss of hearing are deaf and can hear nothing at all.

The quietest sounds that people can hear are between 25-40 decibel. An impairment like this can impact learning and development, including speech and language.

These are two distinct types with differing treatment methods. However, suppose medication or surgery does not work or is not an appropriate treatment. In that case, many people with conductive type can be fitted with hearing aids.

You mustn’t try to “wait out” your condition.

According to the World Health Organization, there are approx 360 million persons in the world with loss of hearing that’s a staggering 5.3% of the world’s population, and 32 million of whom are children. Without healthy ears, the consequences for our social and mental health, and physical health, in some cases, become more significant, and overall quality of life can plummet.

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Repeated exposure to any loud noise may damage the sound-sensitive hair cells in the inner ear. Therefore it is vital to protect your ears from harmful environments. Loss can be caused by many factors, including genetics, age, exposure to noise, illness, chemicals, and physical trauma.

The most common form of a human sensory deficit is the partial or total inability to hear sound in one or both ears. It may be a bilateral, occurring in both ears, or unilateral.

Can stress cause hearing loss?

Stress can cause hearing loss, whenever the body responds to stress, the overproduction of adrenaline can reduce blood flow to the ears, affecting your hearing. You have fragile hair cells inside the inner ear that rely on constant blood flow to receive the correct amount of oxygen and other nutrients.

When it’s age-related, Presbycusis, there is a compromise with the ability to discriminate sounds in environments with background noise. Healthy ears require several processes in the inner ear and brain to work correctly to literally interpret any sounds heard.

Cochlear implants are one of the options for treating single-sided deafness. However, with sudden deafness, you should consider it a medical emergency and visit a doctor immediately.

Commonly, a problem with the outer or middle ear is referred to as a conductive. In contrast, inner ear problem brain processing difficulties are referred to as sensorineural and is one of the most common types.

The majority of times, the cause is unknown.

Being unable to detect sound may affect all ages, delaying speech and learning in children, and causing social and vocational problems for adults. Those with sensorineural loss of hearing experience difficulty understanding speech as well as decreased sensitivity to volume and higher frequencies.

When there is a compromised ability to hear present with no detectable damage to the outer or middle ear, a care professional will examine the inner ear for signs of sensorineural loss of hearing. It can be permanent and caused by many different conditions that damage tiny hair-like cells in the inner ear or the auditory nerve.

Conductive loss of hearing is usually temporary and treatable. Early identification and support are particularly important in children.

The consequences of a loss of hearing.

The prevalence of an inability to hear is increasing in adolescents and young adults. It is associated with exposure to loud music. It may also develop because of constant exposure to loud noise, or exposure to medication that can damage hearing.

At the end of the inner ear, thousands of auditory nerve fibres detect the high and low sound frequencies and transmit action potentials to the brain, which interprets the signal as sound. This could be caused by an impairment of the auditory nerve, hair cells, and/or Cochlea.

With a conductive lack of ability, vibrations cannot pass from the outer ear to the inner ear. In mixed variety, there is a combination of conductive and sensorineural components.

Hearing loss can affect people of any age.

The auditory nerve carries essential information about the loudness, pitch and meaning of sounds to the brain. Sensorineural loss of hearing can often result in difficulty understanding sound or speech even though it is loud enough to hear.

In adults, loss of hearing can significantly affect the overall quality of life, since it impacts social interaction and general well being. Consequently, this can cause many difficulties in various aspects of life.

Loss of hearing can occur in different types and degrees of severity. In normal hearing, sound vibrations pass from the outer ear through the middle ear to the inner ear.

  • People with Meniere’s disease have a buildup of excess fluid within the inner ear.
  • Treatments can vary depending on how bad and type of loss.
  • Tell your health care team about any changes during or after any treatments.
  • Another common cause is exposure to noise.

It can also be genetic or perhaps caused by the natural ageing process, diseases, accidents. Sensorineural is when the hearing organ, the Cochlea, and/or the auditory nerve is damaged or malfunctions. Hence, it is unable to accurately send a signal and information to the brain.

In a sensorineural loss of hearing, there is a dysfunction in the inner ear. Loss of hearing may be fluctuating, that is, varying over time improving at times and getting worse at other times.

It is true that when sudden it can be caused by something as simple as earwax or middle ear fluid. Both of these could cause you not being able to hear or for it to be reduced sometimes suddenly and sometimes at just one ear.

Loud noises occurring in the workplace can rupture the eardrum.

People with conductive loss of hearing, who use hearing aids, generally do very well. Most people with SNHL actually have a sensory inability, which means the problem is usually in the Cochlea.

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These components of your ear are both delicate and intricate, which make treatment difficult. Very often, the inner ear will not require treatment, as it’s only the damaged outer or middle section of the ear that prevents sound from travelling.

They do more than just help you hear, a listening device or aid will make you healthier overall, too. Noise-induced problems are a significant health issue among adults also.

What is the cause of sudden deafness?

The causes of sudden deafness may be noise, age, medication and lifestyle as well as genetic causes. For example, any permanent damage to the delicate hair cells in the inner ear occurs when exposed to loud sounds.

When conductive as well as sensorineural loss is present in one or both ears, it is referred to as a mixed loss of hearing. Researchers have found that magnesium may play an essential role in protecting our ears from the damaging effects of noise.

Sometimes sounds from the outside are softer while the individual’s own voice sounds louder than usual. Some people with sensorineural have suffered damage to the auditory nerve itself, preventing the sounds from being transmitted to the brain.

Even musicians, who literally create music for our ears, are at risk.

A comparison between results from an air conduction test and bone conduction test provides a better indication of whether it’s due to conduction deafness or nerve deafness. Sudden sensorineural, also known as sudden deafness, involves an unexplained rapid decline all at once or over a couple of days.

It is the most common type of loss of hearing and is triggered by damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve. The most common cause of conductive loss of hearing is fluid in the middle ear space.

A loss of hearing makes it more difficult for you to hear speech and other sounds. Parts of speech can often be distorted and indistinguishable. This complicates the ability to register emotion and other conversational cues.

Will a hearing aid restore my hearing to normal?

The answer is, ‘no, a hearing aid will not restore your hearing to normal or cure your hearing loss. But the hearing aid will go a long way to restoring hearing levels for many activities you may have been missing out on. Hearing aids can be the treatment of choice for most types of hearing loss.

If it is sensorineural, it is caused by damage to the tiny hair cells in the inner ear. Unlike a sensorineural, conductive loss occurs because the sound entering the ear is reduced or even dampened by the obstruction. There is usually no damage to the delicate nerves in the inner ear.

In children, hearing problems may affect their ability to learn spoken language. In adults, it will often create difficulties with social interaction and at work. Thresholds are measured in decibels (dB) the standard threshold is between 0-25dB for adults and 0-15dB for children.

Unfortunately, constant exposure to noise will eventually lead to permanent tinnitus or permanent, significant damage to your ears.

Consonant sounds are probably the most important for speech recognition.

Sensorineural, in most cases, this loss is caused by the reduction of tiny hair cells that are in the inner ear, which are vital in transmitting sound waves to the auditory nerve. There is likely damage to the outer or middle ear and to the inner ear or auditory nerve.

Conductive loss of hearing occurs when something is blocking or impeding the passage of sound waves to the inner ear. You can simulate a conductive by wearing earplugs.

Loud sounds encourage the production of free radical molecules in our ear, which damage the delicate hair cells of the inner ear. Severe SNHL may also occur after sudden exposure to loud noise at 120-155dB, for example from explosions, fireworks, gunfire, and music concerts.

Can my loss of hearing be treated?

The most common treatment for sensorineural is appropriately fitted hearing aids.

Although around half of people that have SSHL recover some or all their hearing spontaneously, usually within one to two weeks from onset. Delaying SSHL diagnosis and treatment can decrease treatment effectiveness. Receiving timely treatment increases the chance that you will recover at least some of your ability to hear.

For the majority of people who do not recover through treatment, aids to hear are the best treatment. In some cases, doctors prescribe steroids which are taken orally for one to two weeks, as this is the most beneficial treatment for a sudden loss of hearing.

The overall prevalence of deafness is equal in both males and females.

While some people lose being able to hear for a very short time, perhaps due to medical illness, treatment or accident. For others, it may take many years. Most people benefit from treatment with a hearing aid; however, not every form of loss of hearing can be compensated for using a hearing aid.

Fortunately, effective surgical treatment may be available. Your health care provider will have to determine how much of your loss of hearing is conductive and how much is sensorineural. This helps to determine which treatment will provide the most benefit.

In almost every case, early treatment could be life-changing even for those who believe their ears are in perfect health. On average, a person waits 7-10 years before visiting a professional for diagnosis and treatment.

  • Once you have hearing nerve damage, it may not get better.
  • Genes may also play a role in about half of the cases of loss in babies and children.
  • Conductive loss can be temporary or permanent.
  • If you do take your baby to a loud place, use earplugs or earmuffs to limit noise.

Most that are a result of age or noise is progressive and irreversible, and there are currently no approved or recommended treatments.

If yours is severe, does not respond to treatment, or happens in both ears, your doctor may recommend that you use hearing aids.

There is no one size fits all treatment, it’s based on the sounds that you can’t hear, which vary greatly, and the sounds that you want to be able to hear. There are devices, which produce simulated environmental sounds such as falling rain or ocean waves, are often an effective treatment for tinnitus.

A cochlear implant is just a small electronic device to help people hear.

A frequent treatment for sudden deafness, especially when the cause is unknown, is corticosteroids. Treatment always depends on the cause and severity of the deafness.

Mixed loss of hearing can sometimes be treated with medical management, and hearing aids are a standard treatment recommendation. In cases of severe or profound unilateral loss of hearing, the most common treatment includes a bone-anchored hearing aid. This hearing implant is placed in the skull behind the ear.

Because each part of your auditory system performs a specific role to hear and process sound. With the loss of hearing, specific treatment is required to assist or repair their function.

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