Hearing Loss And Deafness
Helping you differentiate hearing loss from deafness can tell you when to see a doctor. Read on to learn the ins and outs of hearing loss and deafness to ensure you get the right treatment.
Hearing loss vs. deafness
We will first discuss the levels of hearing loss to help you distinguish hearing loss from deafness.
Hearing loss is the reduction of your ability to hear sounds when compared to others.
Deafness occurs when you cannot hear speech even when the sounds are amplified.
Profound deafness occurs when you cannot hear any sound at all.
The severity of your hearing loss is categorized by checking how much the volume needs to be turned up before you hear sound.
The three varieties of hearing loss
Gradual hearing loss occurs as you age. Almost half of Americans over 65 experience some form of hearing loss.
Hearing loss comes in three varieties
Conductive involves your middle ear
This type of hearing loss occurs when vibrations do not pass through the outer ear to reach the inner ear. Excessive build-up of ear wax, ear infections, fluid behind the eardrum, and disorders of the bones of hearing are the common suspects of this condition.
Sensorineural involves your inner ear
This type of hearing loss is caused by brain damage, dysfunction of your cochlea, and the auditory nerve. This damage typically occurs as you age and your cells deteriorate.
You can also experience this type of hearing loss because of long-term exposure to loud noises. Your body may also develop this condition because of inner ear infections and head trauma.
Most types of sensorineural hearing loss cannot be reversed, but you can ask your doctor to help improve your hearing.
An important exception is sudden sensorineural hearing loss. If you experience sudden onset hearing loss you should call your ENT doctor immediately to be seen. Sudden hearing loss can sometimes be treated, but only if treatment is started right away.
Mixed hearing loss – a combination of the two
The condition is categorized by a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. Long-term infections can damage the eardrums. Surgical intervention may help treat a conductive problem, but it’s not always effective if the sensorineural hearing loss is severe.
Here is a list of signs that you are experiencing hearing loss:
1. Avoiding social settings
2. Muffling sounds and speech
3. Withdrawing from conversations
4. Trouble understanding consonants
5. Turning up the volume of electronic devices
6. Frequently asking people to speak clearly, loudly, and slowly
7. Difficulty understanding what others are saying against background noise
When to get checked by a doctor?
You must seek medical attention immediately when you experience a sudden loss of hearing, usually in one ear. Consult with your doctor if your hearing loss is interfering with your daily life. Be aware that age-related hearing loss is gradual, so you may not detect it at first. Getting regular exams should help you identify hearing problems sooner.
There is treatment available to you for all the different types of hearing loss. The treatment you receive will vary based on the cause and severity of deafness.
Hearing aids are wearable devices that will assist your hearing. There are a few varieties of hearing aids that come in different levels of power, sizes, and circuitries. These devices do not cure deafness, they just amplify the sound that enters your ear to help you hear more clearly.
They are composed of a loudspeaker, battery, microphone, and amplifier. These devices are very discreet and can help you distinguish speech and background noise. Your audiologist takes an impression of your ear for fitting and adjusts the settings to suit your needs.
Should your doctor find your eardrum and middle ear intact, then you may benefit from receiving a cochlear implant. It is a thin electrode inserted into your cochlea. This implant is inserted to help you repair your hearing impairment if it’s caused by hair cell damage in your cochlea. The implants give you better speech comprehension. Newer models can allow you to enjoy music and discern the different types of noises. You can even use some of the models while swimming.
Outside, the implant consists of a microphone, transmitter, and speech processor.
Inside it has a receiver and stimulator.
Children often have implants in both ears, while adults only have them in one.
In conclusion, learning about hearing loss and deafness, their varieties, symptoms, when to see a doctor, and treatment can help you get the right treatment. Dr. Kelley is an expert when handling ear conditions, so visit him to get treatment.