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Hearing loss cannot be cured, but through the use of hearing aids, the condition can be treated. Loss of hearing occurs as a result of reduced ability to perceive sounds. A hearing impairment makes it difficult to acuity to sounds. In the United States, about 15 percent of the people above 18 years of age often report some level of hearing impairment cases. Symptoms of hearing impairment range from mild, moderate to severe or profound.
Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing impairment is categorized into three types, as discussed below:
- Conductive hearing loss
This condition occurs when sound is blocked from reaching the inner ear through the middle ear. Conductive hearing is caused by many factors, which include:
- Perforated eardrum
- Glue ear
- Defective eardrum
- Excessive wax buildup in the ear
- Malfunction of ossicles
- Ear infections accompanied by swelling and fluid buildup
Infections on the ear may heal, leaving scar tissues in the ear, which might reduce the functionality of eardrum. Ossicles may be damaged due to trauma, infections, or fusing a condition, as referred to as ankyloses.
- Sensorineural hearing loss
It is a hearing impairment that occurs when the inner ear, auditory nerve, and the cochlea fails to function correctly. This condition is primarily contributed by destructed hair cells that are found in cochlea. Aging is a significant factor that inhibits hair cell functionality, deteriorating hearing acuity.
Too much exposure to loud sounds is also another risk factor for hair cell damage. Once hair cells are damaged, it is impossible to have them replaced. However, researchers are looking for ways stem cells can be used to generate the growth of new hair cells in the cochlea.
Sensorineural permanent hearing impairment may occur as a result of untreated hearing loss, ear infections, congenital deformities, or trauma.
- Mixed hearing Impairment
It is a condition that arises when you have both sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss can damage the eardrum and the sensory nerves ending known as ossicles. To restore hearing, surgery may be recommended, although this treatment option is not always effective.
Hearing Loss Treatment
Hearing impairment is incurable, but the condition can be treated to restore hearing. It is impossible to have damaged cochlea hair cells repaired. However, there are various treatment options and strategies available for people with hearing impairment that can help improve the quality of their life. Hearing loss treatment options vary depending on the causes and severity of the condition.
Different Hearing Aid Technology Available
Various types of hearing aids are available in the market in varying sizes, levels of power, and circuitries. These devices do not cure the hearing disorders, but they help restore hearing by amplifying the sound entering the ear. The following are some examples of hearing aid technologies:
- Behind-the-ear hearing devices – these devices are placed on the outer ear, and the sound is routed either through electrical means or acoustically.
- In-the-canal hearing devices – these devices are positioned in the external ear canal. They have a loudspeaker that is mostly made of silicone inserted inside the ear.
- Bone conduction hearing devices – they are majorly used by clients diagnosed with conductive hearing loss, and also by those unable to use conventional hearing aids. Unfortunately, if these devices are used for too long, they may cause ear pain or discomfort.
- Cochlear implants – these are hearing devices that are inserted in the cochlea. They are used to restore hearing to patients who their hearing disorder is a result of damaged hair cells in the cochlea.
Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss
Long term untreated hearing loss may have profound effects on mental, emotional, and social life. Sometimes, many people find it a difficult and challenging process to address hearing impairment, but the result is usually worth the struggle. Many benefits come along when we treat our hearing loss. Here are a few benefits:
- Enhances communication with other people
- Delays the onset of cognitive disorders
- Improves safety
- Improves psychological well-being
- Helps to formulate strong relationship bonds
- Better performance in the workplace
As seen above, hearing impairment can cause a hot mess in our lives if treatment is neglected. But the benefits of improved hearing contribute significant benefits to our day-to-day life. It’s your choice to seek treatment, and so are the consequences.
La Canada Hearing
If you’ve noticed changes in your hearing and are struggling with communication, contact us today. We provide comprehensive hearing health services and we’re here to help!