The Different Ways to Deal with Hearing Loss
Rarely is the world totally silent. Even in the middle of a forest, there is usually some sort of sounds around us. Because we so keenly respond to these sounds around us, hearing loss can be a devastating part of our life. Approximately 1 in 20 American is already deaf or hard of hearing. Some of these people may not even be aware of their problem. Some tend to live with the condition while others deal with the daily frustration of not understanding others during simple conversations.
It is important to understand that not all types of hearing loss are the same. There is no universal treatment for hearing disabilities. While some can be remedied or repaired, there are still types of hearing loss that are devastatingly permanent.
What Are The Three Major Types Of Hearing Loss?
- Sensorineural, as the name suggests, is hearing loss due to damage in the inner ear or malfunction of nerves in the central auditory systems. Since nerve damage is involved, it is often a permeant situation for the patient.
- Conductive hearing loss occurs when the sound is blocked from entering the inner ear to be passed to the brain for processing. Bone growth, tissue growth, perforated ear drums or other substances in the ear canal generally cause conductive hearing loss. In many cases, the affected bone or tissue can be removed to clear the ear canal and restore hearing for the patient.
- Mixed hearing loss occurs when both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss appears at the same time. Treatment and success of mixed hearing loss depend on the severity of each type of hearing loss.
What Are The Most Common Treatment?
Antibiotics and minor surgeries can sometimes help to restore hearing loss due to the overgrown bone, excessive earwax or various infections of the ear canal and inner ear. Untreated inner ear infections can cause permanent damage if not handled quickly, completely, or in a timely manner.
- Hearing aids can come in a variety of types and have varying success rates. Even though over 35 million people in the United States use hearing aids, they are not a ‘one stop fix’ for all the hearing loss issues. They are most widely used for people with moderate hearing loss on both sides. They do not work as well for people with slight or profound hearing loss on one side. Small personal amplifiers are at times used as an assistive device to aid patients when they are watching television or conversing over the phone. Though often confused as hearing aids, these small personal amplifiers generally are attached to the device rather than to the person’s ear canal.
- Cochlear implants are fitted under the skin behind the ear. They can be used in situations where the actual nerves are not damaged. They function as other non-working parts of the ear to transport sound from the outside to the nerves that are connected to the brain. People with severe sensorineural hearing loss are best suited for cochlear implants.
The important thing about hearing loss is to visit a hearing health provider if you believe you’re experiencing it. Treatment is crucial to avoiding hearing loss and your hearing professional will steer you in the right direction.