14 different things you didn't know about hearing loss
1. What are the 3 types of hearing loss?
Conductive, sensorineural and mixed are the three main types of hearing loss.
- Conductive hearing loss due to pathologies which affects external ear and middle ear such as cerumen impaction, middle ear effusion, tympanic membrane perforation, otosclerosis and cholesteatoma.
- Sensorineural hearing loss happens after inner ear damage or due to degeneration or demyelination of nerve cells which receives information from the cochlea and passes it into the brain areas specified for hearing.
- Mixed hearing loss is a condition which affects both middle ear and inner ear or auditory nerve.
2. What is the first sign of hearing loss?
People with hearing loss tend to have difficulty in hearing other people clearly and they may listen to music or watch TV in a higher than normal volume. Children with hearing loss may show delay in speech and language milestones and sometimes unclear speech.
3. What causes hearing loss?
Possible causes of conductive hearing loss: Cerumen impaction, Otitis Media with effusion, Otosclerosis, Ossicular chain discontinuity, cholesteatoma
Possible causes of sensorineural hearing loss: Meniere’s disease, Autoimmune inner ear disease, Ototoxic medications ,Very loud noise, Acoustic neuroma, head injury, Presbycusis
4. Does hearing loss go away?
It should be addressed properly by an Otolaryngologist as early as possible. Medicine or surgery can cure some types of conductive hearing loss if treated on time like cerumen clearance, eardrum repair or tympanoplasty. For sensorineural hearing loss, a hearing aid or cochlear implant may help.
5. Will hearing loss be cured?
Yes. It can be treated with medicine, surgery or amplification devices according to the type and severity of the problem. Once damaged, your auditory nerve and cilia cannot be repaired. But, depending on the severity of the damage, sensorineural hearing loss has been successfully treated with hearing aids or cochlear implants. Depending on the nature and extent of the problem, people with conductive hearing loss can get some or even most of their hearing back with medicine or surgery.
6. Can hearing loss heal itself?
Sometimes the accumulation of fluid in the middle ear or wax, so seeking the help of an Otolaryngologist is necessary to diagnose and treat your hearing problem.
7. Is it possible to regain hearing?
Yes. The sensorineural hearing loss is permanent because of the damage to the sensory hair cells, but there are treatment options like surgically implantable devices and hearing aids. Conductive hearing loss may be temporary or permanent, depending on the pathology medical or surgical treatment can cure conductive hearing impairment.
8. How do you know if your hearing loss is permanent?
The main causes of permanent hearing loss are congenital malformations of the ear, exposure to loud noise for a long period of time, exposure to an explosion or gunshot, physiological changes in the ear with aging, and ototoxic medications. Ototoxicity is a type of permanent hearing impairment that is triggered by medications such as chemotherapy drugs or some intravenous antibiotics.
9. Is sudden hearing loss an emergency?
Yes. Sudden hearing loss is a medical emergency. Anyone who experiences a sudden hearing loss in one or both ears, should see an Otolaryngologist as soon as possible. Sudden hearing loss should be treated by an ENT physician as a medical emergency. It is reversible if treatment started within 48 hours of the onset of the problem. It can be treated with systemic corticosteroids or intratympanic injection of steroids.
10. Is hearing damage permanent?
It depends on the cause of the hearing loss. In order to find out whether the hearing loss is temporary or permanent, visit an ENT specialist doctor. This specialist will help you to determine what is causing your hearing loss, and how to best proceed with treatment. In general, sensorineural hearing loss is permanent for example presbycusis (hearing loss due to aging).
11. Does hearing loss hurt?
Yes, if it is due to ear infections, for example Otitis media, otitis externa, expanded cerumen impaction, fungus, trauma to the eardrum and most of these may lead to conductive or sensorineural hearing loss.
12. Does tinnitus go away?
Yes, in many cases, tinnitus dissipates on its own regardless of the cause. If your tinnitus continues for more than a week and negatively affects your quality of life, consult an otolaryngologist or audiologist.
13. How is hearing loss treated?
For Conductive hearing loss, the treatment options are removing wax blockage or Surgical procedures. Some types of hearing loss can be treated with surgery, including abnormalities of the eardrum or middle ear bones (ossicles). If you have had repeated infections with persistent fluid, your doctor may insert small tubes on your eardrum. For Sensorineural hearing loss, available treatment options are hearing aids, cochlear implants and auditory brainstem implants.
14. How do you know if you have hearing loss?
Have you been finding it harder to listen to conversations in a crowded room? Do you strain to hear the sounds of birds chirping? If your answer is YES, these may be the signs that point to hearing loss.