Hearing Loss



Category Hearing Health

Hearing loss is one of the biggest health concerns in the Indian It is the third most commonly reported physical condition, following arthritis and heart disease.

The most common causes of hearing loss are noise exposure and aging.

What Can Cause Hearing Loss?

The ear is divided into three sections. The outer ear (outer earlobe and ear canal), the middle ear (where the bones of the middle ear are contained), inner ear (cochlea). Each of these sections has its own diseases that can lead to hearing loss. Here are some possible causes of hearing loss: These are just a few of the problems related to the ear. However, we can help you recognize that they can affect your ears.

Outer Ear

Wax Occlusion: Hearing loss can occur if too much wax is produced in the ear and blocks more than 80%. Patients are advised to remove wax with the help of their doctor or otolaryngologist. Removing the wax yourself can be harmful rather than helpful.

Outer ear infections (otitis externa): Ear infections can be caused by a variety of causes, including bacterial infections and dermatitis. The ear canal and pinna are inflamed, swollen, and itchy. If the infection reaches a point where dirt can block the ear canal, it can cause hearing loss. If you have pain, itching, or irritation in your ears, it is recommended to see a doctor.

Middle Ear

Hearing loss caused by conditions affecting the outer or middle ear is generally referred to as “conductive hearing loss”. Conductive hearing loss can often be treated with medical intervention or surgery.

Middle ear infections: Colds and upper respiratory infections can often cause fluid accumulation in the middle ear. Sometimes this fluid may become infected causing pain and discomfort. The presence of fluid in the middle ear can prevent the eardrum from moving easily, which prevents sound from being transmitted effectively through the middle ear, therefore, causing hearing loss. Middle ear infections are most common among children and, although they are often temporary, chronic ear infections are problematic. Chronic ear infections can prevent a child from hearing in school or prevent them from hearing certain sounds while learning the language. If you or your child have problems with ear infections it is important to contact your primary care doctor or an ear, nose, and throat physician.

Inner Ear

Hearing loss due to conditions affecting the inner ear is generally referred to as “sensorineural hearing loss”. Sensorineural hearing loss is generally permanent and cannot be medically corrected.

Presbycusis (age-related hearing loss): Contained within the cochlea are tiny hair cells responsible for sending auditory information to the brain. As we age these cells start to die off. The most vulnerable cells are the ones that transmit high-frequency speech information, which is why conversation becomes much more difficult as we get older. While we can’t completely prevent age-related hearing loss, we can do our best to protect the hearing we have left from other factors that may affect hearing.

Noise-induced hearing loss: Loud noise is one of the many factors that can affect our hearing every day. Noise-induced hearing loss is a product of how loud a sound is as well as how long it is listened to. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a 90dB sound can be listened to for up to eight hours before it damages hearing, as the level of the sound increases the amount of time it can be listened to safely decreases significantly. Although it is hard to parse out which factors (age, noise, etc) have specifically caused one’s hearing loss, it is still very important to protect your hearing when around loud noise. See our hearing protection page to learn about a variety of ways to protect your hearing.

Ototoxicity: This term refers to medication that can have harmful effects on the inner ear and therefore on one’s hearing ability. Many chemotherapeutic drugs as well as aminoglycosides are ototoxic. If you are taking a drug that can be harmful to the inner ear it is important to have your hearing monitored so that any changes in hearing status may be reported to your doctor and managed accordingly.

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss: This type of hearing loss is rapid in onset, as opposed to gradual onsets like presbycusis or noise-induced hearing loss.  There are many causes of sudden sensorineural hearing loss, one being viruses. Regardless of what the cause maybe it is important to seek immediate medical attention if you experience a sudden hearing loss.

Types Of Hearing Loss

Conductive Hearing Loss

Problems affecting the outer or middle ear are referred to as conductive hearing losses. This hearing loss affects a person’s ability to conduct sound to the inner ear. These losses are common in children who suffer from ear infections, but can also be caused by a range of adult problems from simple ear wax to congenital malformations and calcium growths.

Hearing losses of this nature are often temporary and may be medically and/or surgically treatable. Unfortunately, they represent only about three to five percent of our nation’s hearing difficulties.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

The majority of hearing difficulties result from damage to the inner ear, referred to as sensorineural or nerve hearing loss. Living in a noisy culture, we are injuring our ears at an alarming rate. Power tools, factories, guns, lawnmowers, hairdryers, MP3 players, surround sound and freeways are just a few ways in which we are slowly and imperceptibly eroding our hearing — lessening the sharpness and reducing the clarity of the spoken word. In addition, there are genetic factors, illnesses, chemicals, and medications which can also affect our ability to communicate. These problems are typically permanent in nature and do not respond to medical or surgical intervention. In time because of these difficulties, those with hearing loss often begin to withdraw from social gatherings and retreat into themselves.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural causes.

Tinnitus

Tinnitus is the perception of sound when an external source of sound is absent. Tinnitus creates a ringing noise that can also be described as a buzzing, humming, whistling, tunes, or songs. The sound perceived may range from background noise up to noise loud enough to drown out all other external sounds. Tinnitus is not a disease, but a symptom resulting from a range of causes, with the most common being hearing loss. A medical evaluation is strongly recommended for those who may be experiencing tinnitus to rule out any health complications. Once evaluated, those who experience tinnitus can receive help from their audiologist, who can offer devices and techniques to help manage or minimize debilitating tinnitus.

Call Rampo Speech and Hearing Clinic at 9123199893 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

 


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