Hearing Loss : Prevention , Types, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment and General Home Care of Hearing Loss
Problems with hearing may be divided into following two broad categories: sudden and slow. When a child of age five or older complains of a difficulty in hearing that has developed over a short period of time the problem is usually a blockage in the ear of one type or another. On he outside of the eardrum such blockage may be due to the accumulation of wax, a foreign object that the child has put in the ear anal, or an infection of the ear canal. On the inside of eardrum fluid may accumulate and cause blockage because of ear infection or allergy.
Hearing problem in child may be present from birth. Hearing can now be tested in child of any age through the use of computers. More simply a child with normal hearing will react to a noise such as a handclap, horn, or whistle.
Normal speech development relies on hearing. A child whose speech is developing slowly or not at all may, infact, have difficulty in hearing. Some decrease in hearing, especially of higher frequencies, is normal after the age of 20. If this becomes a problem in later life, it is time to visit the doctor.
Types of hearing loss
1.Sensorineural hearing loss
2. Conductive hearing loss
3.Central deafness (rare form of hearing loss)
Causes of hearing loss
There are mainly two causes of hearing loss:
1.Conductive hearing loss
2.Sensorineural hearing loss.
Conductive hearing: this loss is caused by anything that interferes with the transmission of sound from the outer to the inner ear. Such causes include:
Middle ear infections
Collection of fluid in the middle ear
Blockage of the outer ear it can be due to wax.
Damage to the eardrum by infection or an injury
Otosclerosis, a condition in which the ossicles of the middle ear become immobile because of growth of the surrounding bone
This type of loss is due to damage to the pathway for sound impulses from the hair cells of the inner ear to the auditory nerve and the brain. The causes under this category are as follows:
The decline in hearing that many people experience, as they get older
Injury caused by loud noise to the hair cells
Viral infections of the inner ear, it may be due to injury or infections
Abnormal pressure in the inner ear
Viral infections of the auditory nerve (such as mumps and rubella)
Infections or inflammation of the brain or brain covering, such as meningitis
Also a number of inherited conditions may lead to hearing loss.
Diagnosis of Hearing Loss
A thorough examination of both ears often reveals the cause of the hearing loss. If it does not, the doctor may recommend audiometry (an electronic hearing test) or other tests. Hearing can also be improved by a variety of methods, including hearing aids.
Prevention of Hearing Loss:
The best way to prevent hearing loss due to noise exposure is to eliminate or reduce the noise level so that it is not hazardous. When noise cannot be eliminated, individuals must be protected from the noise by wearing hearing protection. Other ways to prevent hearing loss due to noise exposure is to limit the amount of time around noise, or increase your distance from the source of the noise.
Be cautious about removing foreign bodies. Do not try to remove the object unless it is easily accessible and removing it clearly poses no threat of damage to ear structures.
Sharp instruments should never be used in an attempt to remove foreign bodies. Many times an effort to remove foreign bodies push them further into the ear or damage the eardrum.
The water must be as close to body temperature as possible; the use of cold water result in dizziness and vomiting.
Washing should never be attempted if there is question about the condition of the eardrum; it must be intact and undamaged .
Treatment of Hearing Loss
The treatment of hearing loss depends on the cause. A bacterial infection of the middle ear can be treated with antibiotics; blockages of the outer and middle ears can be cleared; damaged eardrums can be repaired surgically;
Some causes of sensorineural hearing loss can also be improved. If there is no cure for the hearing loss (as with age-related hearing loss), a hearing aid for one or both ears usually helps most people, whether the hearing loss is the result of conductive or sensorineural problems. Many different types of hearing aid are available and the audiologist will advise as to which type best suits your needs.
Hearing loss caused by medications (like aspirin or ibuprofen) often improves once the drug is stopped.
If an ear infection is the cause of the hearing loss, it often clears on its own, but antibiotics may be needed.
Surgery may be needed to treat some conditions or injuries to restore hearing.
However, some forms of hearing loss are permanent and irreversible. In these cases, a hearing device may help.
Hearing aids may not restore hearing to normal, but they can greatly improve hearing and quality of life.
For patients with profound deafness, cochlear implants may provide some sound and often prove quite helpful. Though they can't restore natural hearing, cochlear implants -- tiny electrical devices that are surgically implanted in the part of the inner ear called the cochlea -- produce hearing sensations in the ear.
Call the doctor
1.when hearing loss occurs only in one ear
2. When hearing loss develops suddenly
3.a hearing problem is interfering with your life.
4.you cannot hear soft sounds, high pitch sounds. When someone speaks in a whisper
5. When you ask people to repeat themselves or have difficulty in understanding words.
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