Hearing loss

Hearing loss is very common, about 1.5 million American have some form of hearing impairment. With increasing age, hearing is impaired as the hearing organs also age, but diseases, injuries or hereditary changes may also be behind hearing loss. There is always some kind of help to get when you have a hearing impairment. The treatment depends on the cause of the hearing loss.

Why does hearing loss occur?

Getting poor hearing can have many causes, most commonly being that the hearing organs age as the age increases. Age-related hearing loss is often detected by close relatives before the hearing-impaired self becomes aware of it. In case of impaired hearing, the eardrum and auditory bones become less elastic and difficulties in passing the sound through the middle ear. But hearing loss can also be caused by injuries, diseases of the inner ear, the auditory nerve or brain, certain drugs and other external factors.

Symptoms of hearing impairment

Common signs of hearing impairment are when you:

… notice that you have a harder time hearing than other people

… Think that others speak unclear and weak

… Be asked by others to lower the volume of the TV or radio

… notice that hearing is worse on one ear

… have a hard time perceiving when several people are talking at the same time

Protecting the ears from exposure to excessive noise can reduce the risk of hearing loss. Be sure to use earmuffs when working with loud machines such as drills and mowers, as well as wearing earplugs at concerts and other high-volume venues.

Hearing loss is divided into two parts

Conductive hearing – is because the sound cannot be routed normally into the inner ear. Reason can be wax plug, ear catheter, ear inflammation and a disease called otosclerosis, as the stirrup becomes motionless and cannot transmit the sound waves to the inner ear. Most hearing impairments due to conduction problems can be completely remedied or greatly improved with various technical aids or by surgery.

Sensorineural hearing loss – is due to damage to the inner ear, auditory nerve or brain. These may include, for example, natural age changes, noise damage, damage from portable music machines and headsets, hereditary factors, Meniere’s disease (dizziness), tumor of the auditory nerve, drug side effects, infections or circulatory disorders. The hearing loss means that certain sound intervals (some frequencies) disappear completely or partially, weaker sounds become increasingly difficult to perceive and that the so-called hearing sharpness becomes worse, that is, sounds distorted and intertwined. You can then hear that something is being said, but not what. Hearing impairment due to injury is often persistent, but using hearing aids and hearing aids can reduce the problems.

Diagnosis of hearing impairment

When examining hearing impairment, you should always tell your doctor first about your complaints. After that, you will undergo various hearing examinations to determine what type of hearing loss you have. An examination of the ear canal and eardrum is always done to rule out that the hearing problem is not due to, for example, a wax plug.

You can measure hearing by making a hearing curve (tone audiogram). You can then listen to tones of different strength and pitch (frequency) in earphones in each ear individually and sometimes also via a vibrator on the leg behind the ear. In this way, you can determine the type and degree of hearing loss. Hearing is affected differently by conductive barriers and damage to the inner ear. In the case of conductor obstructions, the sound is only weaker, but in the case of damage the sound is also unclear.

Based on the questions the doctor asks and the examinations and measurements made, a diagnosis is made. What kind of hearing loss you have and how serious it is are the basis for what treatment you receive.

Treatment for hearing loss

In case of illness or injury in the ear canal, eardrum or middle ear, so that the sound cannot be passed into the ear as it should, the root cause of the problems is treated. Most hearing impairments due to conductive barriers such as these can be improved with, for example, hearing aids and in some cases completely recovered via surgery.

Hearing damage in the inner ear, sensorineural hearing loss, cannot currently be cured, but can be remedied with hearing aids and hearing aids.

Hearing aids are good for amplifying the frequencies where hearing is worse and are common if you have persistent problems with severe hearing impairment. Most commonly, the device sits in the ear canal or behind the outer ear and amplifies the sound against the eardrum, but there are also variants where the hearing aid is bone anchored and which leads the sound to the inner ear through a titanium screw in the skull’s leg.

When talking about technical aids in hearing impairment, you mean solutions that help one to perceive the sound. For example, it can be extra gain to the phone or doorbell, either through amplified sound, light signals or vibration.

Seek care

For many people, it may be difficult to not hear properly and it can affect social interaction with other people. To avoid misunderstandings and facilitate both yourself and others, it may be good to tell people in your area that you are hearing badly. Important if you suspect you have a hearing loss is to seek help on time. There is always help to get in any form. Start by contacting your health care provider or medical center.

You should contact an emergency room if you suddenly

• poor hearing on one ear

• hear badly after a dive or after a blow to the ear

• hear badly and at the same time feel pain in the ear or in the head

• suddenly hear badly and feel dizzy

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