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Hearing loss is a common sensory problem that generally develops with increasing age or due to prolonged or persistent exposure to loud noises. It is one of the most typical problems that occurs throughout the world. If you are suffering from partial hearing loss, you may find ways of keeping in touch with your family and friends. If you are not suffering from such the following may help you keep your hearing intact for years to come.
Types of hearing loss:
There are two main types of hearing loss:
1. Conductive Hearing Loss where the problem lies in the middle ear, eardrum or ossicles. A conductive hearing loss affects the passage of sound between the eardrum and the inner ear. Sound passes down the ear canal to the ear drum and through the middle ear, where the sound is transmitted across the middle ear by the three bones called the ossicles to the inner ear.
Causes of conductive hearing loss:
- Malformation of outer ear, ear canal, or middle ear structures
- Fluid in the middle ear from colds
- Ear infection (otitis media - an infection of the middle ear in which an accumulation of fluid may interfere with the movement of the eardrum and ossicles
- Poor Eustachian tube function
- Perforated eardrum
- Benign tumors
- Impacted earwax
- Infection in the ear canal
- Foreign body in the ear
2. Sensorineural Hearing Loss where there is damage in the inner ear, cochlea or hearing nerve. Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) occurs when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea), or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. Most of the time, SNHL cannot be medically or surgically corrected. This is the most common type of permanent hearing loss.
Causes of sensorineural hearing loss:
- Exposure to loud noise
- Head trauma
- Virus or disease
- Autoimmune inner ear disease
- Hearing loss that runs in the family
- Aging (presbycusis)
- Malformation of the inner ear
- Meniere's Disease
Coping with Hearing Loss:
Antibiotics and eardrops are often prescribed to treat hearing loss and its symptoms. In many cases, people suffering from severe hearing loss use hearing aids. Hearing aids are tiny instruments that people use in their ears to make sounds louder. People who suffer from hearing loss cope with their problems through increased concentration and focus. The usual way involves reading the moving lips of the person while they talk. Prevention is better than cure and is the best solution to avoid long term hearing loss. Avoiding continuous loud noises, to the possible extent helps prevent hearing loss to a great extent. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Ent Specialist.