Hearing loss is the inability to hear partially or totally in one or both ears. Generally, sound is indicated by 'frequency' and 'intensity'. In 'frequency', our ears can normally hear between 20 to 20,000 Hertz. When hearing threshold or the least hearing ability of a person is over 25 dB (decibel), then it can be termed as hearing loss or impairment. Hearing loss treatment involves diagnosis of the type and degree of hearing loss and based on the type and degree of hearing loss the treatment would be either medical or rehabilitative
We are regularly exposed to various types of sounds.
Hearing loss or problem can occur from one or multiple reasons; the most common factors as well as specific causes leading to hearing loss among adults and children are:
Children: Genetic; Prematuriy; Infection; Drugs
Adults: Noise induced; Ototoxic; Immune diseases; Heredity; Physical trauma; Ageing( Presbycusis)
If hearing loss interferes with activities of daily living or if you have to frequently have to ask your conversation partner to repeat themselves, you might be on the verge of hearing loss
The type of hearing loss can be identified by a professional Audiologist detecting the area or section of the ear which is the cause
Conductive hearing loss
Hearing loss in the outer or middle ear is termed as conductive hearing loss which generally can be treated with medication; surgery or the use of hearing aids.
This type of hearing loss is due to problems arising out of the inner ear or Auditory nerve disorders.
Though it is a permanent problem, hearing restoration is possible with the help of medical treatment; surgery hearing aids or other hearing devices . The treatment will be unique to the condition.
Mixed Hearing loss
This is a combination of Conductive and Sensori- Neural hearing loss.Here too, hearing aids or other hearing devices can help in hearing restoration
This is the medical term for “ ringing in the ears.” It is the perception of sound in the ear in the absence of objective sound and may be heard in one ear or both.
It is often described as buzzing,whistling, roaring,humming, hissing or whooshing. It can be continuous or intermittent
Tinnitus is not generally a serious medical condition but it can be very distressing and cause sleep disturbance
It is not a disease but is a symptom resulting from a range of underlying causes.
There is one type of Tinnitus that requires urgent medical attention and that is pulsatile tinnitus.
If nausea or dizziness accompany Tinnitus , visit your doctor
Some causes of Tinnitus
At the moment, there is no known permanent cure for Tinnitus – but it can be managed .
What to do if you have Tinnitus
One of the most common types of injuries that occur in the workplace is hearing damage.
It is often not noticed at first
There are legal requirements that are laid out by OSHA which covers occupational health exposure.
However it is not only the workplace that is of concern. People listening to very loud music (eg at concerts) for prolonged periods are also at risk. In addition listening to loud music with ear buds also puts one’s hearing at risk.
Hearing damage may not be noticeable at first. But is the one UNDISPUTED result of noise damage.
So- a simple warning : Turn the volume button LEFT to reduce the risk
Two types of Hearing Hazards
Sudden loud noise can cause immediate hearing damage and often people are unable to prepare for it.
The closer one is to the sound source the more damage it will cause.
Prolonged noise exposure depends on how long and how loud the exposure is.
Exposure to noise over 85dB for 8 hours a day is dangerous and workers need to wear hearing protection and have annual hearing tests to monitor any changes
Noise protectors such as earplugs or ear muffs are effective ways of protecting hearing.
There are many types on the market and should be chosen as the right type for the right situation
There are a number of substances that can have adverse effects on your hearing
The technical term is called “Ototoxic” ie. they cause damage to the ear..Specifically, they damage the small hair cells within your ear
Some Ototoxic substances are:
Tobacco or other nicotine products. Smoking has numerous effects on your ears eg compromising the blood needed by the auditory hair cells.
Alcohol has similarly destructive effects on the ear and hearing.. It impacts the cochlea which can compromise both hearing and balance.
As we know Alcohol can have deleterious effects on the brain over time with the Auditory Cortex being a frequent victim
Certain medications have ototoxic properties.
IF YOU SUSPECT YOU MAY BE EXPERIENCING HEARING LOSS FROM MEDICATION, YOU MUST SPEAK TO YOUR DOCTOR AND FOLLOW THEIR INSTRUCTIONS
DO NOT IGNORE MEDICAL ADVICE
There are about 200 commonly prescribed ototoxic medications but they usually fall under certain categories eg chemotherapy agents or blood thinners.
There are others as well
Aspirin and Quinine are 2 of the most commonly available ototoxic medications
They are both blood thinners which means that the oxygen brought to your ears is lessened. This can asphyxiate hair cells.
This is a massive umbrella term , But aminoglycosides is especially known for Ototoxicity
Many chemotherapy agents can affect the inner ear hair cells which if damaged cannot be restored
Ear wax is a natural secretion of the glands of the ear.
It helps lubricate the ear and protect it from infection.
The ears are blocked with wax or there is ear pain; itching; ringing in the ears and hearing loss due to the wax being impacted it needs to be removed.
The wax needs to be removed by a professional trained to do so eg doctor; audiologist; nurse .
Certain oils or drops may be prescribed to soften the wax before it is removed.
As we get older, we may experience some level of decline in our mental functioning. It may be mild or more serious. A normal part of aging includes forgetting details, taking longer to learn new things and difficulty paying attention. It may not be possible to stop it — but the literature tells us that we may be able to slow it down.
By understanding the link between hearing loss and brain fitness can help you get started on the road to better overall health.
Some suggested reasons for this link are:
Medical research links Hearing loss with a variety of other conditions, including:
Heart and cardiovascular disease
Falling & Dizziness
Sooner than you think – the biggest risk is not knowing . The earlier you treat hearing loss the better chance you have of taking the steps to correct the problems you are facing
Why? Because when the hearing nerves and the centre of the brain responsible for hearing is deprived of sound it begins to atrophy aka auditory deprivation. It then becomes more difficult to solve the problem.
Not necessarily= there are various kinds of hearing loss and each condition will require an individual solution- some will require medical intervention and some will require hearing aids
It depends on many factors- age, motivation, type of hearing loss, level of technology, cognitive ability etc
In general wearing hearing aids requires a period of adjustment. The journey towards hearing health takes you to a wonderful place. There may be obstacles along the way .But we will help you along the process. You will begin to get benefit immediately, but after two months you will realise just how much the quality of your life has improved.
After 6 months you will be wishing you would have done it sooner
Q: When is the right time for a hearing test?
A: Sooner than you think
Q: What is the biggest risk of hearing loss ?
A: Not knowing that you have a hearing loss
Q: Who needs a hearing test?
Our hearing supplies us with vital information as well as causing us to experience emotions and recall memories. It enables us to enjoy the laughter of children, or the caring words whispered by a loved person either. Or what about nature’s comforting sounds: the evening song of a blackbird, the wind in the autumn leaves, the waves on the beach or the cracking sounds of a cosy bonfire
The good news
With wonderful technology there is help available. Connect with family and friends again
Be in touch, stay in tune and remain independent.
Don’t retire, rewire