Hearing loss affects more than 36-million seniors across America. Losing your hearing is a part of life, and more than 50-percent of all seniors over the age of 75-years old, have some form of the condition.
Fortunately, you don’t have to let your hearing loss adversely affect your lifestyle. Hearing aids are a practical solution to your problem, letting you regain your hearing capacity. The best hearing aids have plenty of features that allow the user to tweak the settings to suit your environment – enabling you to enjoy the sounds of nature as you walk through the forest, or keep up with a conversation – without asking people to repeat their last sentence.
There are three types of hearing loss;
• Mixed – a Blend of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
Here is a brief guide to the symptoms, causes, and treatment of all three types of hearing loss. If you notice any of the signs in your life, arrange an appointment with an audiologistfor fitment of hearing aid devices.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
Before we start with explaining the three types of hearing loss, it’s essential to cover the symptoms patients experience with the condition. If you or a family member experience any of these classic signs of hearing loss, make an appointment with your doctor for a hearing test and referral to a specialist for fitment with hearing devices.
• You find it challenging to follow a conversation with two or more people speaking at the same time.
• Background noises may seem too quiet or too loud.
• You have issues with isolating speech from background noise.
• You find it difficult to hear women or children’s voices.
• You have trouble making out soft speech, such as the “s” or “th” sound.
• Other people’s speech sounds like they are mumbling or slurring their words.
• A ringing in the eras, also known as “tinnitus.”
1. Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common form of the condition. The inner ear has tiny hairs and nerve endings that process the sounds and noises we experience.
SHL occurs when we sustain damage to the fragile hairs or nerve endings in the inner ear. In their weakened state, the nerve endings can’t send signals to the brain, leaving the affected individual with hearing loss.
This damage is a permanent condition, and affected individuals often experience deafness in their twilight years.
Causes of SHL
In rare circumstances, some children may be born with SHL due to genetic abnormalities or infection of the mother that transfers to the baby in the womb. Diseases like toxoplasmosis, rubella or herpes all present congenital hearing issues for newborns.
However, the most common cause of SHL is exposure to loud noises. Some people who spent their careers working in noisy environments – such as a machine shop, may experience hearing loss later in life.
Other factors that cause sensorineural hearing loss include;
• Presbycusis – Age-related hearing loss.
• Autoimmune dysfunctions and diseases.
• Blood vessel diseases.
• Trauma to the ear or head.
• Meniere’s disease.
• Cancerous tumors are growing in the ear.
• Side effects of using certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs.
Treatment for SHL
Unfortunately, there is no cure for SHL. The best doctors can do for you is refer you to a specialist audiologist for assessment of your condition. The specialist will make recommendations for the best hearing aids to suit your situation. Rechargeable hearing aids allow the affected individual to recover their hearing.
2. Conductive Hearing Loss
The second type of hearing loss in this article, “conductive hearing loss,” occurs due to damage or obstruction to the middle or outer ear, resulting in either permanent or temporary hearing loss that’s dependent on the individual case at hand.
Some examples of how CHL occurs are a baby tugging on its ear due to an ear infection. Ear infections in children can prevent sounds from conducting into the inner ear, where the nerve endings signal the brain to interpret the signals.
Causes of CHL
There are a variety of reasons for the development of CHL in both adults and children. Some of the more common causes of the condition occur due to;
• Earwax impaction through cleaning the ears with earbuds.
• Narrowing of the ear canal – known as “stenosis.”
• Exostoses – the growth of bone cartilage in the middle ear – also known as, “surfers ear.”
• Otitis externa – also referred to as, “swimmer’s ear.”
• Foreign bodies are blocking the ear canal.
• Damage to the tympanic membrane from injury, infection, or air pressure changes.
• Tympanosclerosis – Thickening of the tympanic membrane.
• The buildup of fluid in the middle ear – also known as, “otitis media.”
• Eustachian tube blockage.
• The formation of growths or tumors in the middle ear.
• Ossicular chain discontinuity – trauma damaging the connection in the bones of the middle ear.
Treatment of CHL
It’s possible for doctors to mitigate the effects of CHL caused by infection, impaction, and growths. Doctors use antibiotics, and surgical procedures to restore the patients hearing. However, in some cases, the effects may become permanent, requiring the use of rechargeable hearing aids to provide the patient with normal hearing in the affected ear.
3. Mixed Hearing Loss
The third type of hearing loss is a blend of the previous two.
Causes of MHL
Mixed hearing loss occurs when the ear sustains damage through a traumatic event – such as a blow from a blunt object. People who already have some form of hearing loss, such as exostoses, may further damage their hearing by receiving a traumatic injury to the same side of the head that compounds their symptoms.
Treatment for MHL
Treatment for this condition depends on the type of trauma or damage that occurs, as well as the patients past medical history. Doctors may use a combination of treatments, including surgery, medications, and hearing aids to help the patient recover their hearing.
Wrapping Up – Speak to Your Doctor About Your Hearing Loss
Dealing with hearing loss is a challenge. However, cheap hearing aids provide an inexpensive solution to your problems, and most doctors will recommend that you use these devices to maintain your hearing as you age.
Search hearing aid reviews to find out how much hearing aids cost, and what models are available to you. Most affordable hearing aids have the same features and functionality as the expensive versions, and hearing aid price should never be your defining reason for purchasing your device.
Speak to your audiologist about any hearing aid you intend on purchasing. The specialist can tell you if it’s suitable for your condition.