Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is when the ability of hearing is reduced making it more difficult to hear speech or sounds. The most common causes of hearing loss are noise and agingand, in most cases, hearing loss cannot be cured. This condition is typically treated with hearing aids.
Hearing-Loss

Causes

Age Related Hearing Loss

Age related hearing loss gradually occurs as one ages. It most commonly arises from changes in the inner ear as we age, but it can also result from changes in the middle ear or the complex changes along the nerve pathways from the ear to the brain.

Inherited Hearing Loss

Sometimes, hearing loss can be genetic. They are hereditary and caused by gene mutations, often making them predisposed to hearing loss due to aging or induced by noise, drugs or infections.

Signs of Hearing Loss

Signs or symptoms of hearing loss are as follows:
  • Muffling or speech or other sounds
  • Difficulty to understand words or speeches
  • Difficulty hearing consonants
  • Frequently asking others to speak slowly, clearly or loudly.
  • Withdrawal from having conversation
  • Avoiding social settings

Types of Hearing Loss

Your hearing loss can be defined as one of three types
  • Conductive (involves outer or middle ear)
  • Sensorineural (involves inner ear)
  • Mixed (combination of the two)

Solution

A hearing loss treatment usually involve consultation with a hearing care specialist or audiologist who can address the specific cause for the hearing issues. In case the medical treatment does not clear up the hearing loss, the healthcare professional will investigate other options such as hearing aids, surgical implantation of a bone-anchored hearing system or cochlear implant.

Tinnitus

Tinnitus is the persistent ringing or buzzing in the ears which is subjective, meaning only the person suffering from it can hear it and others can’t.

Symptoms

  • Ringing in the ears or the feeling that the head is full
  • Persistent buzzing or whirring sound in the ears
  • For some, the sound gets louder at night
  • Ringing of ears can be loud enough to interfere daily activities
  • Mild tinnitus can experience soft ringing that is no more than a minor annoyance

Causes of Tinnitus

Following factors may contribute to tinnitus
  • Age- Around the age of 60, hearing sensitivity can start getting worse.
  • Loud noise exposure- Being exposed to occupational loud noise or listening to loud music through headphones, attending loud music performances etc. can contribute to the issue.
  • Unhealthy habits- Drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, eating certain foods and drinking caffeinated drinks can play a role in tinnitus.
  • Common ailments- Having anemia, allergies, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, circulatory problems, diabetes and an underactive thyroid gland etcare all medical conditions can play a role in tinnitus.

Treatment

The first step is to contact the hearing care professional who will run you through some tests to identify tinnitus. Your doctor may recommend you to see an audiologist who specializes in managing tinnitus. Once tinnitus is identified, the healthcare professional’s next step would be to determine the best treatment. A series of tests may be run to determine the treatment according to your needs. Examples include
  • Pitch match test- To determine the approximate frequency of sound one is hearing.
  • Loudness match test- To examine the level of sound one is earing which would range from a whisper to a shout.
  • A visual analog scale- To determine the perceived loudness on a scale of zero to 10. Often tinnitus is perceived louder than the decibel level that matches so this test is necessary.
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