Thursday, April 18, 2024

Is Hearing Loss Sudden Or Gradual

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What Can You Do To Recover From Gradual Hearing Loss

Sudden-Onset Hearing Loss

An audiologist is the best partner an individual can have when it comes to addressing the topic of hearing loss. They are professionally equipped to investigate, diagnose and treat all cases of hearing loss, from mild to profound. They can also provide information on prevention, management, and much more.

The experience of hearing loss differs from person to person, often depending on the specific cause. Some causes of hearing loss are immediate and sudden. Others experience hearing loss making itself clear over time. This is known as gradual hearing loss. If you are experiencing gradual hearing loss, you may be wondering what you can do to recover from it or reverse it. Here, were going to look more closely at gradual hearing loss, what you need to know about it, and if you can recover from it.

How The Ear Hears

Think about how you can feel speakers vibrate on your sound system or feel your throat vibrate when you speak. Sound, which is made up of invisible waves of energy, causes these vibrations.

Hearing begins when sound waves that travel through the air reach the outer ear or pinna, which is the part of the ear you can see. The sound waves then travel from the pinna through the ear canal to the middle ear, which includes the eardrum and three tiny bones called ossicles. When the eardrum vibrates, the ossicles amplify these vibrations and carry them to the inner ear.

The inner ear is made up of a snail-shaped chamber called the cochlea , which is filled with fluid and lined with thousands of tiny hair cells . When the vibrations move through the fluid, the tiny outer hair cells amplify the vibrations. The amplification is important because it allows you;to hear soft sounds, like whispering and birds.

Then, the inner hair cells translate the vibrations into electrical nerve impulses and send them to the auditorynerve, which connects the inner ear to the brain. When these nerve impulses reach the brain, they are interpreted as sound. The cochlea is like a piano: specific areas along the length of the cochlea pick up gradually higher pitches.

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Can You Recover From Gradual Hearing Loss

There are some causes of hearing loss that are temporary. Loud noises can cause a temporary hearing loss that may go away after a day. Similarly, hearing loss caused by blockages such as earwax and infections can be treated and eliminated, restoring your hearing. However, there is no way to cure or reverse the gradual hearing loss associated with the two causes mentioned above. As such, if you are experiencing gradual hearing loss, it is important that you work with your audiologist to prevent further hearing loss and to protect the hearing that you have left.

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Hearing Loss In Adults

People over age 50 may experience gradual hearing loss over the years due to age-related changes in the ear or auditory nerve. The medical term for age-related hearing loss is presbycusis. Having presbycusis may make it hard for a person to tolerate loud sounds or to hear what others are saying.

Other causes of hearing loss in adults include:

  • Loud noises

Other Types Of Sensorineural Hearing Loss

4 Common Causes of Sudden Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs if the sensitive hair cells inside the cochlea are damaged, or as a result of damage to the auditory nerve . In some cases, both may be damaged.

Hearing loss caused by age and exposure to loud noises are both types of sensorineural hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss can;also;be caused by:

  • the genes you inherit ;some people may be;born deaf or become deaf over time;because of;a genetic abnormality
  • viral infections of the inner ear ;such as mumps or;measles
  • viral infections of the auditory nerve ;such as mumps or rubella
  • acoustic neuroma; a non-cancerous growth on or near the auditory nerve
  • meningitis; an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord
  • encephalitis; inflammation;of the brain
  • multiple sclerosis; a neurological condition affecting the central nervous system
  • a head injury
  • malformation of the ear
  • stroke; where the blood supply to the brain is cut off or interrupted

Some;treatments and medicines, such as radiotherapy;for nasal and sinus cancer, certain chemotherapy;medicines or certain;antibiotics can also damage the cochlea and the auditory nerve, causing sensorineural hearing loss.

People with diabetes,;chronic kidney disease and;cardiovascular disease are also at increased risk of hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and hearing aids are often required to improve hearing in these cases.;

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Science In Service Of Changing Care

One of the most frustrating experiences for ear specialists is seeing patients with SSNHL who suffered delay in diagnosis and missed the window of opportunity for oral steroid treatment. These patients are often desperate to try any measure that might regain some of their lost hearing. Intratympanic steroid treatment might be an answer for some of them. Despite the absence of denitive studies about its benet and risk, intratympanic steroid delivery is rapidly spreading as a treatment approach for inner ear diseases. Soon, it will become entrenched, even though scientic evidence of its efcacy is, at this point, still lacking.

What Is The Follow

Many treatments are available for permanent hearing loss.

  • People with conductive hearing loss can have the middle ear reconstructed by an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
  • Hearing aids are effective and well tolerated for people with conductive hearing loss.
  • People who are profoundly deaf may benefit from a cochlear implant.

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Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss may occur very suddenly or over the course of a few days. It is imperative to see an otologist immediately. A delay in treating this condition will decrease the chance that medications might help improve the problem.

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Shl Or Just A Stuffy Ear Humming Can Tell

Dr. Ted Talks – Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss

How can you know the difference between a regular stuffy ear and sudden hearing loss? Try this test:

Hum aloud to yourself. With normal hearing, you hear the sound equally in both ears. If you do this when you have a new loss of hearing in one ear, the humming will shift to one side or the other.

For example, if your right ear is affected and the hum is louder in that ear, then the hearing loss is more likely a conductive loss, and probably due to blockage from a cold or built-up ear wax.

However, if the humming is louder in the left ear, it suggests the right ear hearing loss is due to recent nerve damage, and that requires prompt medical attention.

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Preventing Other Causes Of Hearing Loss

To lower your risk of other types of hearing loss:

  • Never stick a cotton swab, hairpin, or other object in your ear to try to remove earwax or to scratch your ear. The best way to prevent earwax problems is to leave earwax alone. For information on how to remove hardened wax, see the topic Earwax.
  • During air travel, swallow and yawn frequently when the plane is landing. If you have an upper respiratory problem , take a a few hours before landing or use a decongestant spray just before landing.
  • Stop smoking. You are more likely to have hearing loss if you smoke.
  • Make sure your child receives all the recommended immunizations to protect against pneumococcal disease, meningitis, and other conditions that can cause hearing problems. For more information, see the topic Immunizations.

Where Can I Find Additional Information About Age

The NIDCD maintains a directory of organizations that provide information on the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language.

Use the following keywords to help you find organizations that can answer questions and provide information on age-related hearing loss:

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What Is Sudden Temporary Hearing Loss

Hearing loss often happens gradually over time. However, sometimes it can come on suddenly, either instantly or over the course of a few days. Sudden hearing loss can be a very upsetting and confusing issue to experience. The good news is that temporary hearing loss can often be remedied, especially if diagnosed and treated early. Here, we break down the main causes for temporary or sudden hearing loss, as well as treatment options and , what you can do to minimize your risk of experiencing it.

Dr. Victoria Zambrano, Au.D.

Causes Of Gradual Hearing Loss

Sudden Onset Hearing Loss

Gradual hearing loss is experienced differently from sudden hearing loss and congenital hearing loss. As the name suggests, gradual hearing loss occurs over time. Here are the two most common causes to be aware of:

  • Age: Also known as presbycusis, age-related hearing loss is the gradual loss of hearing that occurs naturally with age, and it one of the most common conditions experienced by older adults and the elderly. There may be a hereditary component, too, and it tends to occur due to changes in the shape of the inner ear and changes to the auditory nerve that come with age.
  • Noise exposure: Another of the most common causes of hearing loss is exposure to unsafe levels of noise. Any noises above 70 dB, which is the noise level produced by a lawnmower for reference, can cause either temporary or permanent damage. They can damage both the hair cells in the ears responsible for picking up sound as well as the nerves in the ear. The louder the noise or the greater the period of exposure, the greater the likelihood of hearing loss.

The symptoms of hearing loss caused by either of these are roughly the same. If you experience any of the following, an audiologist can help you get to the bottom of the issue and diagnose whether or not hearing loss is at the root of it:

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Whats The Difference Between Hearing Loss And Deafness

A person with hearing loss can still hear sounds well enough to participate in conversations. They can improve their hearing ability through hearing aids or other treatments.

Someone who is deaf can hear very little or nothing at all. Hearing aids and devices dont help. A person who is deaf may use sign language to communicate.

Hearing And Cognitive Health

Studies have shown that older adults with hearing loss have a greater risk of developing dementia than older adults with normal hearing. Cognitive abilities decline faster in older adults with hearing loss than in older adults with normal hearing. Treating hearing problems may be important for cognitive health. See Whats the Connection Between Hearing and Cognitive Health?

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How Is Sshl Diagnosed

To diagnose SSHL, your doctor will ask you about your medical history and perform a physical exam. Make sure to tell your doctor about other medical conditions you may have and about any over-the-counter and prescription medications youre taking.

During the physical exam, your doctor may ask you to cover one ear at a time while listening to sounds at different volumes. Your doctor may also perform some tests using a tuning fork, which is an instrument that can measure vibrations in the ear. Your doctor uses the results of these tests to check for damage to the parts of the middle ear and eardrum that vibrate.

Audiometry tests can check your hearing more thoroughly and precisely. During these tests, an audiologist will test your hearing ability using earphones. A series of different sounds and volume levels may be sent to each ear individually. This can help determine the level at which your hearing begins to fade.

An MRI scan may also be ordered to look for any abnormalities in your ear, such as tumors or cysts. MRI takes detailed pictures of your brain and inner ear, which can help your doctor find the underlying cause of SSHL.

How Is It Treated

Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Your health care provider;can help you decide on the best treatment. Noise-induced or age-related hearing loss can be treated with hearing devices, such as hearing aids. Other devices can help alert you to sounds around the house like the phone or doorbell. If hearing aids don’t work for you, cochlear implants may be an option.

You also can learn ways to live with reduced hearing, such as paying attention to people’s gestures, facial expressions, posture, and tone of voice.

In other types of hearing loss, you can treat the problem that caused the hearing loss. For example, you may remove earwax or take medicine for an infection to help your hearing come back.

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Bone Conduction Hearing Aids

Bone conduction hearing aids are recommended for people with conductive or mixed hearing loss who can’t wear a more conventional type of hearing aid. Bone conduction hearing aids vibrate in response to the sounds going into the microphone.

They can also sometimes help people with no hearing in one ear and normal or mild hearing loss in the other ear.

The part of the hearing aid that vibrates is held against the bone behind the ear by a headband. The vibrations pass through the mastoid bone to the cochlea and are converted into sound in the usual way. They can be very effective, but can be uncomfortable to wear for long periods.

What Are The Complications Of Hearing Loss

Having hearing loss can make you feel disconnected from the world around you. You may become frustrated, irritable or angry. People with severe hearing loss can become anxious or depressed. Children with hearing loss may struggle in school and get poor grades. Studies also show a link between hearing loss in older adults and dementia.

Read Also: What Is Conductive Hearing Loss Mean

How Is Hearing Loss Diagnosed

Your health care provider;will do a physical examination and ask about your symptoms and past health. He or she also may look in your ears with a lighted device called an otoscope.

You can make an appointment directly with an Audiologist or a Hearing Instrument Practitioner without a doctors referral.;

If your health care professional;thinks that you have hearing loss, he or she will do hearing tests to check whether you have hearing loss and find out how severe it is. These tests may include:

  • A tuning fork test, which helps your doctor know which kind of hearing loss you have.
  • Other tests to find out what kind of hearing loss you have or which part of your ear is affected.

When To See Your Gp

Checklist for sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL ...

See your GP if you’re having problems with your hearing, or your child is showing signs of hearing difficulty.;If you lose your hearing suddenly, in one or both ears,;you must see your GP as soon as possible.

Your GP can check for any problems and may refer you to an audiologist or an ENT surgeon;for further tests.

You can also visit the Action on Hearing Loss website for an online hearing test.

Read more about diagnosing hearing loss

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Bone Anchored Hearing Aids

A Bone Anchored Hearing Aid transmits sound directly to the cochlea by vibrating the mastoid bone. A minor operation is needed to fix a screw to the skull, on which the hearing aid can be clipped on and off. A BAHA is removed at night and when you swim or take a shower.

Unlike a bone conduction hearing aid, it’s not uncomfortable to wear and is used for patients with conductive hearing loss, or in some patients who have no hearing in one of their ears.

Some people may benefit from newer types of implantable bone conduction hearing aids that are held onto the head with magnets instead of a connector through the skin. However, these are only available at some BAHA centres and may require a referral to a different BAHA centre.

What Causes Sudden Hearing Loss

Sudden or temporary hearing loss, as with other types of hearing loss, typically occurs due to one of two reasons:

Sound is not able to reach the inner ear from the middle ear or sound does reach the inner ear, but its unable to continue on to the brain due to damage to the inner ear or neural pathways.

There are dozens of sudden hearing loss causes; sometimes its difficult to pinpoint the exact root of the issue. In fact, doctors end up finding a specific cause for the hearing loss in only 10 to 15 percent of diagnosed cases.

Here are some common causes of sudden hearing loss:

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When To Test Your Childs Hearing

Hearing loss can develop in children as a result of infections at birth or damage caused by ototoxic medications. It may not always be easy to know if your child is hearing correctly. You should have your childs hearing tested if they:

  • dont seem to understand language
  • dont attempt to form words
  • dont appear to startle at sudden noises or respond to sounds in a way you would expect
  • have had numerous ear infections or problems with balance

Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss Treatment

Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss

The recommended treatment for SSHL is a course of high dose steroids . Access to treatment very quickly after the onset of SSHL is crucial to improving the chances of restoring your hearing, ideally within 48 hours or less. You should at this point be referred to the care of an ENT specialist.

Once on steroid medication, recovery can take a few weeks or longer and may require a repeat course of steroids. Seek advice from ENT for all options available to you.

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