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What is Hearing impairment?


Have you ever thought about living with no sounds? The world is full of beautiful sounds and one can’t imagine living without it. Going to concerts or enjoying the blasts of music is loved by one and all. Too much exposure to loud sounds may lead to such a condition which is known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Apart from musical concerts, listening to music players at full volume, watching television turned on too full volume, visiting a really loud event are all responsible for causing hearing impairment.

Have you ever experienced a ringing sensation after attending a loud event? If yes that is referred to as tinnitus. If not treated on time, it can lead to a permanent loss of hearing ability. It is a kind of disorder related to the inner ear and can affect your hearing ability. Hearing loss can occur in both or either of the ears. There are various causes of hearing loss in one ear. There is a wide list of types of hearing problems experienced by people these days.  

A recent survey reports that a large number of the population is losing their hearing ability at a much younger age if earlier dynamics and stats are to be compared. 

If we simply talk about hearing impairment, it is known as a permanent or fluctuating impairment in hearing ability. Many people confuse hearing impairment with deafness, but there is a thin line difference between the two.

When a person is diagnosed with a hearing loss above 90 decibels it is referred to as deafness. Fluctuations in hearing ability and hearing loss below 90 decibels, comes under hearing impairment. Damage or problem in one or more parts of the ear leads to hearing impairment. Sometimes hearing impairment issues are diagnosed in a newborn since birth due to many possible reasons.

All types of hearing impairments are not preventable apart from those which are caused due to exposure to loud noise. As soon as you start observing hearing impairment symptoms, like difficulty in hearing clearly or experiencing ringing sensations, seek medical help immediately for preventing the symptoms to get complex. Your doctor will help you in diagnosing the Hearing impairment causes, because of which you are suffering and would suggest the best Hearing impairment treatment accordingly. Let’s discuss the types of hearing impairment experienced by people, what are the best hearing impairment treatments and what are the possible hearing impairment causes.

Types of hearing impairment and how are they treated:

1. Conductive hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss is a type of hearing impairment which is a result of problems in the outer or middle ear. Problems in the ear canal, eardrum, or ossicles lead to Conductive hearing loss. The problem in all these areas of the ear interferes with the hearing ability of the ear on how sound gets through the ear. If treated on time, the issue of conductive hearing loss can be resolved. Conductive hearing loss can cause hearing loss in one ear or both the ears. 

Fluid build-up in the middle ear, ear infection, allergies, ear wax formulation, the entrance of foreign objects in the ear, perforated eardrum, benign tumors are some of the most common causes of conductive hearing loss.

Doctors may prescribe you with certain medications to treat chronic ear infections. In some rare cases, surgery is recommended as the best conductive hearing impairment treatment after diagnosing the underlying cause.

2. Sensorineural hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is referred to as disorder or inflammation in the inner ear or the vestibular nerve. The nerve is responsible for sending sensory signals from the inner ear to the brain which helps in regulating the balance of the body. If a person is experiencing Sensorineural hearing loss, it is commonly caused due to the improper functioning of outer hair cells. Difficulty in understanding speech, hearing clearly, etc. are some of the common problems experienced by a person suffering from this kind of hearing impairment. In most cases of Sensorineural hearing loss, it is a permanent disorder.

Exposure to loud noise, aging, head injury, virus or disease, heredity, Meniere’s disease, Otosclerosis, Tumors, etc. are some of the common causes that lead to Sensorineural hearing loss. A majority of patients are diagnosed with this kind of hearing impairment as it can be even triggered by a virus of simple cold and flu. 

Doctors generally recommend hearing aids if the person is diagnosed with such kind of hearing loss. Hearing aids are of much relief in such a condition as it helps the person to hear normally after wearing it. Cochlear implants are counted as one of the best hearing impairment treatment recommended by doctors if a person is diagnosed with severe Sensorineural hearing loss where both outer and inner hair cells don’t function properly. If you are suffering from this kind of hearing loss due to viruses or exposure to loud noises, corticosteroids are generally recommended by doctors after diagnosing or evaluating your condition. Certain alterations in dietary habits by going on a low salt diet and restricting caffeine consumption completely help in treating Meniere’s disease which can be one such major cause of Sensorineural hearing loss.

3. Mixed hearing loss

Mixed hearing loss is a result of both conductive and sensorineural hearing impairment. When a person has a combination of issues caused due to outer or middle ear and damage in the inner ear or auditory nerve it is known as mixed hearing loss. Seek medical help to treat the underlying condition. Your doctor will carry various tests to diagnose the condition and would pay emphasis on treating the conductive hearing loss at first. 

4. Central hearing loss 

Central hearing loss is a result of when the cochlea works properly, but other parts of the brain are not functioning properly. It is rarely found in patients but it is quite difficult to treat the condition if one is diagnosed with the same. 

5. Auditory processing disorders (APD)

People who are suffering from Auditory processing disorders (APD) can hear well in a calm environment but faces difficulty in hearing in a noisy or crowded environment. It cannot be completely categorized under the category of hearing loss but when one faces fluctuations in the hearing ability, it is referred to as hearing impairment. Consulting a doctor immediately is recommended in such cases. He would recommend you with therapies after diagnosing your condition to treat Auditory processing disorders (APD).

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