Why Is Treating Hearing Loss Important
Hearing aids are a common form of treating hearing loss. That treatment is incredibly important, and for reasons that go well beyond your hearing. Generally speaking, prompt treatment of hearing loss can have the following benefits:
Successful treatment can slow the progression of hearing loss. For example, an individual wearing her hearing aids wont have to turn the TV volume up so highand this can prevent further, accelerated noise damage to the ears. There is also evidence that the part of your brain that processes sounds can atrophy if not used. Hearing aids help to re-engage your brain, because you can hear again.
Wearing your hearing aids can help keep you socially involved. This could mean you suffer less from social isolation, a common occurrence in those with hearing loss.
Treatment can lower your risks of developing depression, anxiety, dementia, and related conditions. Hearing loss and any resulting social isolation can often result in higher incidences of mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety. There is significant evidence that suggests untreated hearing loss can also increase your risk of dementia.
Hearing aids can help with tinnitus. Those with hearing loss may also often develop tinnitus, a condition in which you hear a ringing or buzzing in your ears. Treating hearing loss can often help diminish some tinnitus symptoms and many hearing aids have additional features to help with tinnitus.
Treatment Of Hearing Loss In Children
In addition to treatment of any cause and the provision of hearing aids Hearing aids Worldwide, about half a billion people have hearing loss . More than 10% of people in the US have some degree of hearing loss that compromises their… read more , children with hearing loss require support of language development with appropriate therapy. Because children must hear language to learn it spontaneously, most deaf children develop language only with special training, ideally beginning as soon as the hearing loss is identified . Deaf infants must be provided with a form of language input. For example, a visually based sign language can provide a foundation for later development of oral language if a cochlear implant Cochlear implants Worldwide, about half a billion people have hearing loss . More than 10% of people in the US have some degree of hearing loss that compromises their… read more is not available. However, for children, there is no substitute for access to the sounds of speech to enable them to integrate acoustic inputs and develop a refined and nuanced understanding of speech and language.
Children with unilateral deafness should be allowed to use a special system in the classroom, such as an FM auditory trainer. With these systems, the teacher speaks into a microphone that sends signals to a hearing aid in the childâs nonaffected ear, improving the childâs greatly impaired ability to hear speech against a noisy background.
The Connection Between Hearing Loss And Heart Disease
The Cochlea in the Inner ear contains the delicate hair cells which enable us to hear. The Cochlea gets oxygen rich blood through tiny blood vessels to keep it healthy. People suffering from Heart disease have reduced pumping action. The heart does not have the strength or needs to work harder to pump blood. If the pumping action is not enough, the Cochlea connected by tiny blood vessels does not get enough blood. This results in damage to the Hair cells which causes Sensorineural Hearing loss.
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Abnormal Bone Growth In The Ear
In very rare cases, abnormal bone growth in the ear can cause hearing loss. This condition, called otosclerosis, worsens over time and may affect one or both ears, according to MedlinePlus. Your doctor may recommend that you use a hearing aid or have surgery to remove the excess bone growth.
âMost of these conditions require a full workup with an otolaryngologist or specialist for treatment,â Kaitlin Anderson, AuD, CCC-A, a clinical audiologist with Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital, Illinois tells WebMD Connect to Care.
Depending on the severity, unilateral hearing loss can be treated with a hearing aid, ear implants , or other assistive listening devices, according to Anderson.
Who Might Have Hearing Loss
Hearing loss affects all ages, genders, races and ethnicities. Hearing loss in older adults is common, affecting 1 in 3 people older than 65, and half of people over 75. Age-related hearing loss is called presbycusis.
Hearing loss also affects infants and children. An estimated 2 in 1,000 infants are born with some type of hearing loss. Hearing loss in children is one of the most common birth defects. A condition that is present at birth is called a congenital condition.
The Symptoms Of Sudden Hearing Loss
Ear pressure and/or tinnitus are typically the first signs of sudden hearing loss. Symptoms occur at once or within a few days, usually in one ear, and can vary in severity. In worst case scenarios, permanent deafness is possible.
Earache is not a common symptom of sudden hearing loss. Pain in one ear has different causes and may indicate another clinical issue, such as an infection. However, the occurrence of a muffled sound in the ear or dizzy spells may be a symptom of hearing loss.
The most common symptoms of sudden hearing loss include:
- Occurrence of hearing loss without a recognizable cause
- The absence of an earache
- Hearing loss in only one ear
Accompanying symptoms include:
Diagnosing Sudden Hearing Loss
A diagnosis for sudden hearing loss is determined through process of elimination. Various examination procedures are all performed to obtain the best results. For example, an ENT doctor can use otoscopy to discover obstructions or injuries in the ear canal. By using hearing tests , a doctor can determine the extent and localization of your hearing loss, and classify your sudden hearing loss into high, mid, or low frequency. A pure-tone audiogram is performed during the diagnostic process to determine if you have pan cochlear sensorineural hearing loss.
How hearing aids can help in the event of sudden hearing lossWearing hearing aids will alleviate the effects of sudden hearing loss if your hearing loss persists over time. Ideally, the appropriate medication should be administered within 24 hours after you notice the symptoms. If treatment does not follow within this period, and your hearing loss becomes chronic, we recommend the use of hearing aids to provide relief. If your sudden hearing loss occurs with tinnitus, the noiser function in most hearing aids can help treat both conditions.
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Social Isolation Loneliness And Stigma
Impact on society and economy
Years Lived with Disability and Disability Adjusted Life Years
WHO estimates that unaddressed hearing loss poses an annual global cost of US$ 980 billion. This includes health sector costs , costs of educational support, loss of productivity, and societal costs. 57% of these costs are attributed to low- and middle-income countries.
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.
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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.
Canadian Academy Of Audiology
Presbycusis is the loss of hearing that gradually occurs in most individuals as they growolder. Hearing loss is a common disorder associated with aging. About 30-35 percentof adults between the ages of 65 and 75 years have a hearing loss. It is estimated that40-50 percent of people 75 and older have a hearing loss. The loss associated withpresbycusis is usually greater for high-pitched sounds. For example, it may be difficultfor someone to hear the nearby chirping of a bird or the ringing of a telephone. However,the same person may be able to clearly hear the low-pitched sound of a truck rumblingdown the street.
There are many causes of presbycusis. Most commonly, it arises from changes in theinner ear of a person as he or she ages, but presbycusis can also result from complexchanges along the nerve pathways leading to the brain. Presbycusis most often occursin both ears, affecting them equally. Because the process of loss is gradual, people whohave presbycusis may not realize that their hearing is diminishing.
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For Family And Friends Of People With Hearing Loss
A person with hearing loss may feel cut off from conversations and social interaction. The extra effort and stress needed to take part in conversations can be tiring for all people involved. If you live with someone who has hearing loss, you may improve your communication by:
- Making sure the person knows you are speaking to him or her. Use his or her name.
- Speaking to the person at a distance of 1 m to 2 m . Make sure that the person can see your face, mouth, and gestures. Arrange furniture and lighting so that everyone in the conversation is completely visible.
- Not speaking directly into the person’s ear. Your facial expressions and gestures can provide helpful visual clues about what you are saying.
- Speaking slightly louder than normal. But don’t shout. Speak slowly and clearly. Don’t repeat the same word over and over again. If a particular word or phrase is misunderstood, find another way to say it.
- Telling the person when the topic of conversation changes.
- Cutting down on background noise. Turn off the TV or radio during conversations. Ask for quiet sections in restaurants, and try to sit away from the door at theatres.
- Including the person in discussions and conversations. Don’t talk about the person as though he or she isn’t there.
Hearing Loss In Aging Clients
Statistics cited by American Family Physician demonstrate that Hearing loss affects approximately one-third of adults 61 to 70 years of age and more than 80 percent of those older than 85 years. Conditions, such as damage to the tympanic membrane or obstructions in the ear canal, are common causes of conductive hearing loss at any age, but aging clients usually experience the sensorineural form. Deterioration of nerve receivers in the inner ear along with the weakening of the auditory nerve system are common with aging, though mixed forms due to weakened or damaged ear structures leading to conductive hearing loss is also possible. Long-term exposure to loud noises, increased or prolonged usage of ototoxic medications, and other age-related health conditions also contribute to hearing loss in aging adults.
It is important to maintain healthy hearing throughout your life. Making a conscientious effort to protect yourself from acquired hearing loss through the use of head and ear protection when engaged in certain activities along with receiving proper medical treatment for infections and illnesses goes a long way toward combating hearing loss. I highly recommend regular hearing tests for people of all ages, but it becomes a critical part of regular healthcare among aging clients. The Sound Audiology and Hearing Aids team and I take all types of hearing loss and their causes seriously and were eager to provide treatment or preventive care.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Hearing Loss
Its not always easy to tell if youre losing your hearing.
Common signs include:
- difficulty hearing other people clearly, and misunderstanding what they say, especially in noisy places
- asking people to repeat themselves
- listening to music or watching television loudly
- having to concentrate hard to hear what other people are saying, which can be tiring or stressful
The signs can be slightly different if you only have hearing loss in 1 ear or if a young child has hearing loss.
Ototoxic Reactions To Drugs Or Cancer Treatments
Certain medications can damage the ear, resulting in hearing loss, tinnitus , or balance disorders. These drugs are considered ototoxic. There are more than 200 known ototoxic drugs on the market, and include medicines to treat serious infections, cancer, and heart disease. Sometimes hearing and balance problems caused by these medications can be reversed when drug therapy is discontinued, but sometimes the damage is permanent .
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Causes Of Temporary Hearing Loss
Some of the causes of temporary hearing loss include:
- wax the ear canal secretes cerumen, a waxy substance that helps to protect and lubricate the tissues. A build-up of wax can block the ear canal, leading to short-term conductive hearing loss
- foreign object similarly to ear wax, a foreign object stuck inside the ear canal can temporarily cause hearing loss
- excess mucus the common cold, a bout of flu, hay fever or other allergies can cause an excess of mucus that may block the Eustachian tube of the ear
- ear infections including otitis externa and otitis media . Fluid and pus dont allow the full conduction of sound.
What Are The Main Causes Of Hearing Loss
When we are younger, its easy to take our hearing for granted but as we age, we may start to notice a deterioration in our ability to hear certain things. When this happens, you might start to panic and wonder what the cause could be and how you can fix it.
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What Are The Complications Associated With Hearing Loss
Hearing loss has been shown to negatively impact peoples quality of life and their mental state. If you develop hearing loss, you may have difficulty understanding others. This can increase your anxiety level or cause depression. Treatment for hearing loss may improve your life significantly. It may restore self-confidence while also improving your ability to communicate with other people.
What Other Kinds Of Hearing Tests Can Babies Have
If your baby doesnt pass his ABR or OAE test in newborn screening, her provider refers her to an audiologist. This is a person with special training to diagnose and treat hearing loss in newborns, children and adults. Your childs provider also may refer your baby to an otolaryngologist . This is a doctor with special training in ear, nose and throat care.
An audiologist gives your baby a full hearing test to check for hearing loss. This can include the ABR and OAE tests, as well as other hearing tests. The audiologist also may use a behavioral audiometry evaluation to check how all parts of your babys ear work. For this test, the audiologist sees how your baby responds to sound by watching for changes in behavior. Your baby has to be awake for this test. The audiologist plays a sound and checks to see if your baby reacts. For example, your babys eyes may move or your baby may turn her head, suck on a pacifier, get quiet or seem to be listening for the sound. If your baby responds to the sound, the audiologist gives your baby a reward, like a toy with flashing lights. This is called visual reinforcement audiometry.
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Treatment Of Hearing Loss
The causes of a hearing loss should be determined and treated. Ototoxic drugs Drug-Induced Ototoxicity A wide variety of drugs can be ototoxic. Factors affecting ototoxicity include Dose Duration of therapy Concurrent renal failure read more should be stopped or the dose should be lowered unless the severity of the disease being treated requires that the risk of additional ototoxic hearing loss be accepted. Attention to peak and trough drug levels is mandatory to help minimize risk and should be obtained in all patients. In patients with renal dysfunction, adjustments to drug dosages with close attention to peak and trough levels are required to minimize the risk of ototoxicity have concentration-dependent bactericidal activity. These antibiotics bind to the 30S ribosome, thereby inhibiting bacterial protein synthesis. Spectinomycin… read more ). There are some genetic abnormalities involving the mitochondria that increase the sensitivity to aminoglycoside antibiotics, and these can be identified with genetic screening.
Fluid from middle ear effusion can be drained by myringotomy and prevented from reaccumulating with the insertion of a tympanostomy tube. Benign growths and malignant tumors blocking the eustachian tube or ear canal can be removed. Hearing loss caused by autoimmune disorders may respond to corticosteroids.
. In addition, various coping mechanisms may help.
Understanding Acute Hearing Loss
Sometimes rest helps. Trusting the body has helped accelerate some self-healing processes and, according to experts, the rate of spontaneous healing is high during the initial weeks after an acute hearing loss.
There are no medications to heal an acute hearing loss because the cause is unknown.
Since the initial symptoms usually occur within 24 hours, it is recommended to see a doctor quickly upon onset of initial signs. The sooner treatment for acute hearing loss begins, the better the outlook is for recovery.
The following treatment options have been developed based on currently available knowledge:
- Rest and relaxation
- Blood circulation medication – blood circulation to the hair cells in the ear is promoted
- Oxygen chamber – extra oxygen supplies the hair cells and should promote healing
- Hearing aid for a permanent hearing loss
If hearing does not return after an acute hearing loss, hearing aids can help. A noise generator within a hearing aid can sometimes help to reduce the symptoms of tinnitus, if an acute hearing loss occurs in combination with tinnitus.
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