Latest posts by Nikki DeGeorge Weaver, Au.D. (see all)
- Commit to Feeling Your Best This New Year! - January 22, 2020
- Acupuncture for Hearing Loss & Tinnitus: Does it Really Work? - December 30, 2019
- Can Hearing Loss Be Cured? - December 2, 2019
Hearing loss occurs when a person is unable to hear as well as they could in the past. Hearing loss often occurs as people get older and is inevitable. However, hearing loss is not unique to older people only. Hearing loss is a condition that is irreversible and unfortunately, there is no cure. Once hearing loss sets in, it is permanent. Hearing loss can be treated and the treatment of hearing loss can improve your quality of life.
Understanding Hearing Loss
The human ear has three parts. The outer, the inner and the middle ear. There are three types of hearing loss that affect the parts of the ear. Conductive hearing loss occurs when sounds are unable to reach the middle and outer ear. A person with conductive hearing loss can hear some sounds. Softer sounds are harder to hear and louder sounds can sound muffled. Conductive hearing loss can be caused by several factors. A few of them are fluid in your middle ear, a hole in the eardrum, benign tumors, a buildup of ear wax and an infection in the ear canal.
The second type of hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear. Some of the causes of sensorineural hearing loss are hereditary, a blow to the head, aging and certain illnesses. The third type of hearing loss is noise induced hearing loss or NIHL. NIHL is hearing loss caused by exposure to loud sounds. NIHL can be gradual and take time to be noticed or it can be immediate. Noise induced hearing loss can be temporary or permanent and one or both ears can be affected. People of all ages can be exposed to harmful noises. Most people can’t tell if they are damaging their hearing by the sounds around them. However, evidence of the damage will present itself in the future. Noise induced hearing loss is preventable.
Treating Hearing Loss
The first thing you should do if you suspect your hearing has declined is to see a doctor. He/she will be able to evaluate your hearing and if necessary, refer you to a hearing specialist or audiologist. An audiologist will be able to specifically diagnose the hearing problem and recommend the appropriate treatment. The most common treatment for hearing loss is the use of hearing aids. Hearing aids are small electronic devices that fit either in your ear or around your ear. Hearing aids amplify the sounds and allow them to reach your ear.
There are two types of hearing aids used to treat hearing loss. The first type of hearing aid is an analog hearing aid. Analog hearing aids are easy to use and have simple volume controls. They are relatively inexpensive. They work by converting sounds to signals and making them louder. The second type pf hearing aid is a digital hearing aid. Digital hearing aids are more advanced than analog hearing aids. The sound waves are transformed to digital codes and then the sound is amplified. It is easier to adjust the sound to your preference with a digital hearing aid. Digital hearing aids are more expensive than analog, but the quality of sound is better.
Benefits of treating hearing loss
The first step to treating hearing loss is acknowledgment and acceptance of the condition. This step can actually be the hardest to take. It is never easy to admit to having a problem. Once hearing loss has been accepted and acknowledged, steps can be taken to treat hearing loss. Treating hearing loss has many benefits. People who treat their hearing loss improve their overall quality of life. Communication efforts are better and with the use of hearing aids, there is less stress on the ear to hear. The risk of accidental injury is reduced. Treating hearing loss can help on the economic front, as people are not as limited in their opportunities due to their hearing loss. Treating hearing loss also enables people to be more mobile and move around better. It increases self-confidence and self-esteem.
Hearing loss can be a difficult diagnosis to accept. However, it is not a life ending disease. You can still lead a productive fulfilling life with hearing loss. Hearing loss is a treatable condition with many benefits.