Hearing impairment; a comprehensive guide

There are a lot of people all over the world that are affected by the loss of hearing. It can lead to a significant impairment in our ability to do daily activities that we could do with relative ease before. It is much harder for people who have had a sudden hearing loss to deal with it, than the people who have had it lifelong.

There are quite a few causes for it and can affect anyone at any stage in life. It is quite common in people who are over the age of 60. If you experience this in your late 60’s you might have a hard time hearing high-frequency sounds. If you have difficulty understanding conversations and have to ask people to repeat what they have said a lot, you might be experiencing partial hearing loss.

It is important to make life easier for yourself by understanding your situation and the treatment options available for you. We have compiled a guide for all you need to know about hearing loss and how you can help yourself.

Hearing impairment

Types of hearing loss

There are three main kinds of impairments; sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and can be caused by major damage to the hair-like cells that are present in our ears. This is the most common type of hearing loss and can lead to partial or complete deafness. This might happen because of being exposed to extremely loud sounds for a long period of time.

These cells are really important for us since they are the ones that send a signal to the auditory nerve that something is being heard. This is then converted by the brain into something understandable and this is how we hear all things. The pitch, meaning, and loudness of this information cannot be comprehended when these cells are damaged. These do not even grow back, so once they are damaged nothing can be done to help them regrow.

Conductive hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss can be understood as hearing loss because of any other part of the ear, such as the ear canal of the three small bones in our ear. For example, a lot of wax that obstructs the ear canal can lead to conductive hearing loss. The good news is that this is quite temporary and can be treated with ease.

Mixed hearing loss

Mixed hearing loss can be a combination of damage to our nerves and an obstruction in the ear canal.

Treatment

Although this is quite a serious problem, there are many ways through which we can make our lives easier. People who experience the complete loss of hearing have to learn new ways for understanding people but people who have only partial hearing loss can be helped with various sorts of treatments. These will all depend on the severity of the problem that you experience.

Removing blockage from the canal

There are many times that an individual’s ear canal is completely obstructed, which makes it very hard for them to understand when someone is talking to them. The doctor can help you with this by giving you some baby oil that you can add to an eyedropper and put in your ear canal. This will help soften the wax so that they can use suction or a small hook-like tool to remove this blockage from your ear. You can also try this remedy at home but make sure that your doctor is okay with it otherwise you might cause some permanent damage to your ear. Do not try to dig out hardened earwax, it can be pushed back even more.

Surgical procedures

If you have sensorineural hearing loss, your doctor might recommend cochlear implants. This is an electronic device that can help restore your speech understanding and hearing to quite an extent. This is great for people who have experienced major hearing loss. If you have conductive hearing loss, your doctor might recommend a small tube that goes through the eardrum in order to allow air passage through the middle ear. If you have had a severe ear infection, this might be good for you. A stapedectomy is for people who have experienced osteosclerosis (the stapes bone in the ear gets stuck or fixed in one place). The surgery will replace this small bone so that your hearing can improve significantly.

Hearing aids

If you have only experienced partial hearing loss, the use of a hearing aid might be good for you. This is used when there is damage to your inner ear. There are many digital hearing electronic devices out there in the market. Most of these have the same kind of parts to help carry vibrations from the environment to your ear. These also help make these louder so that your ear can get the signals that it might otherwise miss. Most of them are powered by a battery or can be recharged.

You can use an in-the-ear hearing aid, an in-the-canal hearing aid, or a completely in-the-ear hearing aid. Some of these also offer noise reduction, the ability to use directional microphones, and even wireless connectivity to your electronic devices. Try to ask your doctor which one would be the best for you. Getting a trial period would be perfect because you need to use this thing all the time so you should make sure that you are comfortable with the style that you are getting. These are also quite expensive, so be ready to pay anywhere between 1500$-3000$.

Auditory training

If you have had an implant or are even using a hearing aid, auditory training is quite important to help your brain relearn how it can still process these vibrations into sound. You might want to do these exercises at home, but visiting an occupational therapist will help you learn faster. They teach intensively and can answer any doubts that you may have about these things. There are also some audiobooks that you can try that can help you understand how to reduce listening fatigue.

Hearing loss is no joke, it can turn your life around completely. Thankfully, there are quite a few options for treating this issue and making life easier.

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