In the United States, an estimated one-third of the people between the ages 65 to 75 and nearly one-half people older than 75, experience some degree of hearing loss. This article provides information on the treatment options for different types of hearing loss.
The severity of hearing loss depends on the cause. Hearing impairment that is present at birth is known as congenital hearing loss. People aged 65 years and more are prone to the sudden or gradual decrease of the hearing ability. The ill effects of hearing loss are reduced social interaction resulting in loneliness, depression, and loss of independence. However, all these can be countered with the remedial options given below:
Types of Hearing Loss and Remedial Options
This type of hearing impairment occurs when there is an interference in the transmission of the sound to the inner ear. For correcting this impairment, hearing aids (especially BTE – behind the ear type) work well. People using these hearing aids have observed effective results. Alternatively, a surgical procedure can also be performed. However, doctors recommend a surgery only when the use of hearing aids has not improved the audibility.
People with this kind of impairment lose the ability to hear the sounds of higher pitches; for example, women’s or children’s voice and certain parts of speech such as consonants. People affected by this disorder find it difficult to hear amid the background noise. Unlike conventional hearing aids, digitally-manufactured aids have shown great improvements among the high frequency corrective options. For example, the open-fit hearing aid is a popular tool for treating this kind of disorder.
As the name suggests, Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL), is caused by exposure to the harmful noise that can damage the delicate structures (hair cells) of the ear. Explosion or continuous exposure to loud sounds result in NIHL. The corrective options for this type of impairment have shown unsatisfactory results. Avoiding exposure to loud noise is the best way to prevent this condition. Certain earplugs and earmuffs are available that can decrease the noise exposure level by over 20 db. and prevent NIHL.
Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is considered as an idiopathic medical condition. Some of the possible causes are:
- Age, heredity, physical, and environmental factors
- Viral infections such as influenza, rubella, mumps, herpes, etc.
- Vascular diseases such as leukemia, anemia, and autoimmune disease such as lupus
Proper types of hearing aids or cochlear implants are generally advised for treating SNHL.
It is unlikely to avoid all kinds of noises, however, you can take measures to reduce the harmful effects of loud noises. Knowing about the situations that create harmful noise levels can help in avoiding the exposure, and hence the ill effects. When exposure to loud noises cannot be avoided, wearing hearing protectors can be of great aid. People who constantly work with noisy appliances like lawn mowers, power tools, chain saws, etc., must ensure that they wear ear covers like earplugs or earmuffs while working.
Avoid giving children noisy toys or appliances. Kids have lower tolerance to loud noises, and they can easily develop hearing defects. Protect yourselves and the kids, by keeping the volume of your television and other musical instruments at a safe level. Particular care has to be taken while listening to musical devices using earphones. People habituated to extremely loud music, might not realize its ill effects on their hearing ability, however, the effect progresses gradually.
If you have cold, ensure that you do not blow your nose too hard, as this might rupture the sensitive parts of the ear. Blow your nose gently and through both the nostrils. While cleaning your ears, always follow the advice given by the doctors. It is also equally important to prevent any kind of head or ear injuries, as these might also lead to temporary or permanent ear problems.
Hearing impairment can cause serious disturbances in a person’s social life. Thus, it is best to prevent any kind of exposure to loud and harmful noise.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.