Hearing loss is a condition that may occur either gradually over a period of time, or suddenly due to trauma or some other disease. Loss of hearing may be of three types: Conductive, Sensorineural, or Mixed. Conductive hearing loss occurs due to problems in the outer and middle ear like deformations in ear canal and structures of middle ear, infection, common cold, allergy, damaged eardrum, earwax buildup, or foreign objects in the ear canal. Sensorineural hearing loss, also called nerve related hearing loss occurs due to problems of the inner ear. These include exposure to a sudden burst of loud noise or chronic exposure to loud noise over a prolonged period of time, a trauma of the head, infection or other disease, a genetic trend of developing hearing loss, ageing, defective development of inner ear structures, tumor, otosclerosis, etc. Otosclerosis is a genetic condition where a bony outgrowth develops around the ear ossicles stopping their vibrations with sound. It can be a cause for conductive hearing loss as well as sensorineural hearing loss. Mixed hearing loss occurs due to a combination of conductive and sensorineural causes of hearing loss.
Hearing loss treatment can be done in different ways. Earwax buildup cleaning as well as removal of foreign objects can be performed using small non invasive tools. Medications can restore hearing in a number of cases caused by external factors like infection or inflammation. Surgical treatment methods are also adopted in a number of cases. Hearing aids are used in cases where recovery of natural hearing is not possible.
Treatments for hearing loss depend on the condition causing it. Most non hereditary cases are usually reversible completely. Earwax buildup can be removed by small non invasive tools. Foreign objects stuck inside the ear can also be removed with similar tools. Hearing loss caused by cold or allergies can be corrected by curing the cold or allergic condition. Infections of the ear are treated with antimicrobial or antifungal drugs. Hearing loss due to acoustic trauma is treated with corticosteroidal drugs to reduce inflammation of the auditory hairs. Hearing loss due to trauma can be approached surgically with varying success rates. Tumors that affect the auditory nerve can be surgically removed, but hearing restoration may not be possible. Defects and malformations of the ear canal, middle ear, and inner ear need surgical intervention to be corrected. Otosclerosis is also corrected surgically. In case surgery does not work, a hearing aid is advised. Cochlear implants that directly stimulate the auditory nerve are used in cases where hearing loss cannot be managed or restored even by surgical methods and hearing aids cannot produce results as in case of otosclerosis.
Treatment for hearing loss is need by those who experience a loss in hearing, either slowly over a period of time, or suddenly due to a physical or an acoustic trauma. Those at risk include people who are exposed to loud noises regularly for a prolonged period of time, those with a known genetic history of hearing loss, those with malformed ear structures, those who have contracted an ear infection, or those who have gone through a head trauma such as fractured skull.
People who do not have any indication of developing a permanent or long term hearing loss are excluded from the treatment. Sometimes a sudden loud noise can cause tinnitus or a ringing noise in the ear which is accompanied by loss of hearing. However, this loss is mostly temporary and hearing is restored normally in a few hours. No treatment for hearing loss is required in such cases.
Side effects of hearing loss treatments are usually minimal. There is a slight chance of infection if improperly sterilized instruments are used to clean earwax buildup or ear canal is damaged in any way. Long term use of corticosteroids has its own side effects. Hearing aids have a slight chance of causing ear canal damage or infection if they are improperly fitted.
If hearing is restored, no specific post treatment guidelines are required to be followed. Insertion of foreign objects into the ear canal by oneself is never advised. Surgical procedures need to be followed up with post treatment guidelines that are prescribed by a healthcare professional. Hearing aids need to be maintained and cleaned properly. Avoiding loud or noisy environments even for limited periods of time is always advisable.
Recovery period from hearing loss lasts as long as the treatment is carried out as all treatment methods that are successful are stopped upon restoration of hearing. In case of people with hearing aids or cochlear implants, variable lengths of time are required to adjust to hearing with their devices.
Medications for recovery from hearing loss are available under Rs. 1000. Hearing aids and cochlear implants can cost up to Rs. 3 lakhs. Surgical procedures cost more, but they do not necessarily restore hearing and patients need to adopt hearing aids as well.
Treatments for hearing loss are aimed to recover hearing if possible, or manage the decline in hearing if not. For people who recover natural hearing, the treatment results last for lifetime as long as another factor causing hearing loss does not set in. For those who need to use hearing aid, hearing is restored artificially and hence lasts for a lifetime.
Rs. 100 - Rs. 3 lakhs
For someone suffering from Tinnitus, a perpetual sense of ringing in the ears is the main complaint. It’s annoying, to say the least. But more importantly, it is a sign of hearing loss. This is why people need to see an audiologist if he/she has a sense of tinnitus for some time. An audiologist can treat this problem in different ways.
The first step in treating tinnitus like any other disease involves determining the cause. The doctor may perform different tests such as-Hearing:
During this test, one needs to sit in a soundproof room and wear earphones. Specific sounds will be played into the ears, one at a time, through these earphones. People have to indicate when they hear different intensities of sound. The results are compared with empirical results for comparable age. This helps the audiologist identify possible or rule out specific causes.
One may need to clench the jaw, move the eyes or neck, or even move the arms and legs as part of the test. If tinnitus symptoms get better or worse at any of these postures, the audiologist can identify the underlying disorder.
The doctor may suggest an MRI or CT depending on his suspicions.
Treatment involves identifying an underlying problem, if any. If the tinnitus symptoms are due to some health conditions, the audiologist may take the following steps:
Clearing the Earwax
Impacted earwax can cause a variety of problems, including tinnitus symptoms. An audiologist can remove the ear wax.
Treating Vascular Conditions
Underlying vascular problems that require surgery or any other treatment may treat the condition.
Tinnitus can also be a side effect of medication. If the doctor suspects that he may recommend reducing or stopping the drug completely. He may also recommend a different medication.
If there is no underlying health condition or medication responsible for tinnitus, the doctor may take recourse to noise suppression. The patient may need to wear an electronic noise suppression device. These devices include:
White Noise Devices
These machines produce simulated sounds such as those of ocean waves, falling rain etc. This is often found to be effective in treating tinnitus. He may also recommend using pillow speakers, fans, dehumidifiers, air conditioners and humidifiers to suppress internal noise at night.
If a hearing problem is associated with tinnitus, the audiologist may prescribe hearing aid.
Such devices mask the internal sounds of tinnitus and are worn in the ear in a similar fashion as hearing aids.
This device delivers programmed music to mask the sound of tinnitus. This technique usually helps the patient get accustomed to the sound of tinnitus.
Depending on diagnosis and findings, audiologists may also recommend medicines. Audiologists use medicines usually for severe tinnitus only, since these may have side effects. It may also help reduce symptoms.
What is audiology?
Audiology is the branch of science which studies disorders related to hearing and balance. Practitioners of audiology are known as audiologists. Audiologists employ various testing strategies to determine the problems that a person is facing and what the reason is for the problem. Audiology also determines if a person can hear within the normal hearing range or not. If he/she is not able to listen then they determine exactly which portion of the hearing mechanism is affected.
Audiology is a vast field with a lot of different elements. Audiologists not only test the hearing of people but they also work in rehabilitating individuals. People who have had hearing problems can get rehabilitated by audiologists. So, now that you have a brief idea about Audiology, we will be discussing its history.
History of Audiology:
No one knows exactly who coined the term ‘Audiology’. The terms ‘Audiology’ and ‘Audiologist’ have been traced back to 1946 when it first appeared in different medical publications. Robert Galambos has credited Hallowell Davis as the person who has coined the term in the 1940s.
Audiology emerged as a separate field after the Second World War as a huge number of veterans were suffering from hearing loss. This created a need for audiologists and the demand for audiologists ultimately created the field of audiology. Since then Audiology and it's different components are treated as important as other medical fields.
Thousands of people every year suffer from various disorders and other audio related issues which make it really important and popular.
What Audiologists Take Care Of?
A healthcare professional who specialises in diagnosing, identifying, treating and monitoring disorders related to the vestibular and auditory systems of the ear is known as an Audiologist. Audiologists are trained to treat people who are suffering from hearing problems or total loss of hearing. Other problems related to hearing and the ear are also treated by audiologists.
Infants who suffer from hearing loss along with their families are also counselled by audiologists. Audiologists are trained professionals and they have training in hearing aids, electrophysiology, cochlear implants, etc. Audiologists conduct hearing exams and they also fit, adjust and maintain hearing aids.
Another key treatment that audiologists do is treating balance disorders. They are also specialised in treating tinnitus as well. Speech rehabilitation is also done by audiologists.
Labyrinthitis is a very common disease related to audiology in which the person suffers from an inner ear medical disorder. The two vestibular nerves present inside the inner portion of the ears send information to the brain about spatial navigation and also balance control. Now, when any of these two nerves become inflamed due to some reason, it causes Labyrinthitis.
The symptoms of this disorder are easily identifiable and the person is treated generally based on the kind of symptoms he or she is experiencing.
Even though the symptoms may disappear after a few days, a chronic Labyrinthitis will continue to affect after that as well.
These are the symptoms Labyrinthitis and sometimes if these are not treated well, then it can lead to permanent hearing loss.
So if you are suffering from any of these medical problems then you must visit an audiologist immediately and treat the condition in a proper manner.
Diagnosis And Treatment
The doctor will conduct different physical examination and other tests which will help him or her to detect the real problem. Hearing tests, blood tests, a CT or MRI scan of the head and even electroencephalogram can be used to diagnose the patient. Once the real cause of the disease gets traced, the doctor will prescribe medication accordingly.
Here are some of the best treatment of this disease:
Apart from treating yourself with different medication here are some important actions you can perform to get relief from symptoms which might affect you:
So, here are the different information which you must know about Labyrinthitis and we hope this article will help you to get the best treatment and recovery.
Protecting your ears is important to maintain the audibility of these hearing organs. Loss of hearing is a very painful experience and it can hamper your daily activities to a huge extent. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) once reported that around 26 million people between the ages of 19 and 70 have experienced a noise-induced hearing loss.
The World Health Organization (WHO) published a report warning that 1.1 billion teens are on the verge of going deaf due to noise=induced hearing loss. The reason for such a high number of affected demographic is mainly due to certain risk factors that have made themselves quite prominent in the recent years. One such factor is the use of headphones or earphones, especially the in-ear headphones.
There are a number of ways an individual can protect him/herself from noise-induced hearing loss. Here are some effective tips:
Acoustic neuroma is the development of noncancerous and slow-growing tumors on the main, vestibular nerve that travels from the inner ear to the brain, connecting the two organs. They are also known as vestibular schwannoma, as it arises from Schwann cells covering the vestibular nerve. It rarely grows rapidly or attains a large enough size that can press against the brain and interfere with the vital functions of the brain. Since the tumor is benign, the patient can be assured that it won’t spread to the other parts of the body; however, they can grow large enough to disrupt the normal function of the body.
The pressure from the acoustic neuroma on the main nerve can cause loss of hearing, a constant ringing in the ear and unsteadiness. As per a report published by the Acoustic Neuroma Association, 1 out of every 50,000 people suffers from this condition.
Risk factors for acoustic neuroma
Acoustic neuroma does not have quite as many risk factors. The only established risk factor for acoustic neuroma is having a parent who suffers from the rare genetic disorder neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2). However, having said that, neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) accounts for only 5 percent of the reported cases. In most of the cases, it has been found that the tumors appear spontaneously without any indication of a family member having this disease or any medical history of the same.
The development of noncancerous tumors on the ear nerves as well as other nerves in the body is scientifically supported as a characteristic indication of neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2). Neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) is also termed as an autosomal dominant disorder, which indicates that the mutated gene can pass from just one parent. Each of the children has a fifty-fifty chance of inheriting the disease.
However, scientists and doctors have failed to identify why specific people get these tumors. They have reached a generic conclusion about the risk factors, which may include:
How to diagnose the risk factors for acoustic neuroma?
If you are experiencing loss of hearing or other neurological symptoms, try to keep track of them. Later on, mention them to your doctor for a proper diagnosis. A detailed history of the symptoms will help your doctor. Your doctor will perform a hearing test to check whether you have an acoustic neuroma. Then the doctor may perform a brainstem auditory evoked response tests along with an electronystagmography to detect any changes in eye movement, caused due to the inner ear. MRI and CT scans are also quite common diagnoses methods for acoustic neuroma.