Assessing and Treating Hearing Loss
Hearing loss affects millions of people around the world and it is on the rise among the younger population. Some treatments are effective for dealing with hearing loss, although many of the people who might benefit from such treatment are hesitant to pursue it for social reasons.
Conductive Hearing Loss
There are two types of hearing loss: conductive and sensorineural. Conductive hearing loss occurs when the components that allow sound to be transmitted to the cochlea are not functioning properly. The cochlea is a major part of hearing as it helps transmit sounds to the brain. However, the sound does not travel directly there. Rather, a few small bones in the ear, along with the various tubes that maintain the ear’s conditions can experience issues that result in hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss can occur as a result of a number of problems, including excessive ear wax and fluid or foreign substances in the ear.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
The second type is sensorineural hearing loss. This occurs when the inner ear components themselves are damaged. In order for sound to be processed correctly, cilia (which are small hair-like sensory instruments) must carry sound to the inner ear. However these parts can be damaged over time by loud noises and various kinds of trauma.
Unlike conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss cannot be reversed. When treating hearing loss, doctors will conduct a number of tests to assess the causes of the decreased hearing. Some tests will be visual (such as if a doctor is assessing the state of the eardrum). In other cases, examinations will assess the state of the bones in the ear, through sound caused by vibrations, or they may focus on how well the ear is able to pick up sound at different frequencies or volumes.
The treatment for hearing loss will depend on the root cause. Because conductive hearing loss can occur as a result of a number of conditions, doctors will assess an individual’s issue and determine the proper method of treatment. Different options may include having fluid drained from the ear, having wax removed, or having damaged parts of the ear fixed through surgery.
For sensorineural hearing loss, hearing aids can be effective in returning some hearing ability. These aids come in various forms, with internal or external devices to treat different types of damage. Some people are resistant toward using hearing aids because of their appearance, although these devices can be extremely helpful for those experiencing hearing loss.
If you have questions about hearing loss, contact your local doctor who will arrange for you to see an ear nose throat specialist.