Hearing Loss

What is Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss is commonly caused by aging, disease, heredity and noise. Hearing is a complex process which involves both the ear's ability to detect sounds and the brain's ability to interpret those sounds. With so many types of hearing loss, individuals can be affected differently depending on some of the following factors
  • - The degree of hearing loss
  • - Whether one or both ears are affected
  • - Pattern of hearing loss
  • - Areas of the auditory system that are not working as per normal.
  • - Age
  • - Exposures to loud noises or drug related toxins that are harmful to hearing

Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss exists when there is diminished sensitivity to certain tones or frequency and it can range from a mild loss in which a person misses certain high-pitched sounds to a total loss of hearing.
 
There are two general categories of hearing loss.
 
 
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the reception of sound in the inner ear or the transmission of electrical impulses along the auditory nerves. This type of hearing loss is usually permanent.
Conductive hearing loss occurs when disruption or mechanical blockage prevents the movement of sound waves from reaching inner ear. It may be caused by earwax build-up, punctured eardrum etc. Medical treatment or surgery can usually restore conductive hearing loss.
 
Hearing Test
Normal Human ear is able to detect frequencies from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. However, standard hearing test usually only test frequencies between 250 Hz to 8000 Hz. A hearing care professional will conduct the test in a quiet test environment with specially calibrated audiometer, using specific procedures testing each ear separately.
 
The hearing range is then compared to the normal hearing range. The test aims to find the lowest hearing threshold that the subject can hear and will present the result in the form of an audiogram.
 
Tinnitus: A Common Symptom
Tinnitus, is a ringing, clicking, buzzing or hissing sound that can come and go and it might be heard in one or both ears and can be loud or soft. Tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease and can occur with all types of hearing loss. Sometimes it may be a result of side effect of medications or it may be as simple as a piece of earwax blocking the ear canal.
 
Most of the time, tinnitus that comes and goes does not require any medical treatment, however if it does persist, you may want to consult the doctor to see if there may be other underlying medical conditions. There is no cure for tinnitus; however, with proper counselling accompanied by Neuromonics tinnitus treatment, you will be able to manage the condition much better.
 
Hearing Loss Can Lead to Other Problems
Hearing problems that are left untreated can get worse over time due to the deprivation effects. With decrease hearing ability, it becomes harder and harder to hear as well as before. Some people who do not want to admit they have hearing difficulties may eventually withdraw from others to avoid feeling embarrassed or frustrated with not being able to understand what is being said.