What is Hearing Loss

What is hearing loss?

Hearing loss can also be a hearing impairment that happens when a person has a problem in one or more parts of his ear or ears. The word “Impairment” means that something is not working correctly. Someone with hearing loss is not able to hear the sound from one or both ears. Hearing loss can reduce the ability to hear sound. At the age of children, hearing loss may affect the ability to speak anything. A hearing loss disease can be from birth, or it can be developed later in life.

To know better about hearing loss, first, understand how the ear works.

Our ear consists of three different sections, and that is:-

Outer ear

Middle ear

Inner ear

All three parts of work together so that we can hear and process the sound.

The function of the parts of the ear.

Outer ear:- The outer ear is also known as Pinna or auricle. The outer ear collects the sound waves and then transfers the sound waves to the middle ear through the outer ear canal.

Middle ear:- The middle ear is the part between the eardrum and the ear’s oval window. The middle helps to transmit the sound waves from the outer ear to the inner ear.

Inner ear: – The inner ear converts the sound waves to nerve impulses (electrical signal). This is done so that brain can understand and hear the sound.

Types of hearing loss:-

There are mainly three types of hearing loss, and that is as follows:-

1. Sensorineural hearing loss: -

Sensorineural hearing loss is the most type of hearing loss. If the person’s ear nerve and hair cells are damaged for any reason, that person may have Sensorineural hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent hearing loss. Any medical surgery might not cure it. The hearing aid will help the person to hear again. Sensorineural hearing loss can be treated and cured by the use of hearing aids to hear again.

2. Conductive hearing loss:-

Due to the obstructions in the outer or middle ear, a person faces conductive hearing loss. The middle or outer ear obstacle can be from the tumours, fluid, ear formation, or even from earwax. This obstruction prevents sound waves from getting to the inner ear from the middle ear. The conductive hearing loss can be cured by medicine or from a surgical procedure.

3. Mixed hearing loss: -

A mixed hearing loss disease is the combination of conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss. In the mixed hearing loss, the outer ear cannot collect the sound waves properly, and the inner ear fails to transfer the electric signals to the brain. The mixed hearing loss can be cured with the help of a hearing aid.

Symptoms of hearing loss

The following are the symptoms and signs of hearing loss

You are frequently facing difficulty in understanding the word.

You are frequently asking people to speak loudly, clearly and slowly.

You have an injury in the ear.

A middle ear fluid.

You are facing trouble in hearing consonants.

What causes hearing loss?

The cause of hearing loss can be different in sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss.

Causes of sensorineural hearing loss

Ageing

Shingles

Excessive noise exposure

Meningitis

Stroke

Injury

Viral infections

Diabetes

Elevated body temperature or high fever

Heredity

Hypertension

Acoustic tumours

Obesity

Smoking

Causes of conductive hearing loss

Infections in the middle ear or ear canal resulting in fluid or pus build-up

Scarring or perforation of the eardrum

Wax build-up

Dislocation of the middle ear bones

Abnormal bone growth in your middle ear.

Abnormal tumours or growth

A hole in the eardrum

Chronic infection

Signs of Hearing loss at different stages of life

The hearing impairment signs may differ at every stage of our life.

Hearing loss in infants

The hearing loss may include the following signs in the infants

If the infant does not turn their head toward a noise till the 4 months from the birth.

At the age of one, the infant has not spoken a single word.

The infant is not reacting to any sound or noise.

The infant is responding only when they see you, not to your voice.

Hearing impairment in children and toddlers

The sign of hearing loss in toddlers are as follows

If the child is frequently saying, “sorry, may you please repeat what you have said”.

The child starts talking in a loud voice than his normal voice tone.

If the child started not taking part in oral communication.

Hearing loss in adults

I am facing difficulty in the conversation when two or more people are communicating.

I am having trouble talking over the telephone.

We need to turn up the volume of television so loud that people complain.

I am facing a problem in hearing with background noise.

I am frequently asking people to repeat.

Treatment of hearing loss

Your hearing loss treatment depends on the cause and the severity of your hearing loss. The following methods can treat hearing loss.

1. Removing the wax blockage:-

A wax blockage in your ear can be removed by the doctor using a small tool with a loop on the end or suction. Wax in the ear can be removed without any surgical procedure.

2. Treatment through the surgical procedure:-

Sometimes your doctor may suggest you for ear surgery. In a surgical procedure, the doctor inserts a small tube to drain your ear from the fluid caused by the infection.

3. Treatment by using a hearing aid:-

A hearing aid will help you to hear again in a better way. If your inner ear is damaged, then you may go for a hearing aid. A hearing aid is a small device that helps people to hear. Many types of hearing aid devices are available.

4. Treatment through cochlear implants:-

A cochlear treatment is given to the person who is suffering from sensorineural hearing loss. In a cochlear implant treatment, the device is implanted in a person’s ear through a surgical procedure.

How to deal with hearing loss

The following are the ways that help you in dealing with hearing loss

If you notice the symptoms or signs of hearing impairment, then first consult the audiologist.

Say to the people you are talking to speak slowly and loudly for you.

Pay attention and try to listen carefully to what the person is saying to you.

Let people know you have a hearing problem.

Pay attention to gestures or facial expressions.

Ask the person to repeat the word or sentence if you have not heard that.

Avoid having a conversation with the background noise.

Prevention for hearing loss

Avoid listening to loud music or noise.

Avoid using the earphone at high volume.

Take care of your ears.

Do the routine cleaning of your ear.

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