In Family Portal, Health

A Brief Overview of Hearing Loss

It is common knowledge that the human ear is the organ of the sensory system that helps us to interpret sound. The ear facilitates the sense of hearing by receiving sound waves from the outer, middle and inner ear and then conveying those waves of sound to the brain. In a healthy and balanced body, the sense of hearing is second-nature – listening, interpreting and communicating comes with ease. However, for more than fifteen percent of the world, unnatural hearing loss is a concern.

Hearing loss can be described as a decrease in the ability to hear. While mild hearing loss can come naturally as we transition into seniors, unnatural hearing loss can come at any age. There are two different types of hearing loss – conductive and sensorineural. Conductive hearing loss means that there is a problem interpreting sound waves, and sensorineural hearing loss means that there is damage to the central processors in the brain. A decrease in hearing quality can either come suddenly or gradually, and the effects can either be temporary or lasting. There is no one single reason for either type of hearing loss, in fact, there are many outward and inward entities that can cause the organ to function inadequately. Below are the most common causes of hearing loss…

Common Causes of Hearing Loss:

  • Noise Induced Hearing Loss: Noise is perhaps the most common cause of gradual hearing loss. Continual exposure to high level sounds such as loud music, machinery, screaming, banging and close-range gunshots can cause an imbalance to the components of the ear which can result in damage and poor functionality.
  • Trauma: Mild to moderate hearing loss can occur as a result of a head trauma such as skull fractures or punctured eardrums.
  • Ear Infection Hearing Loss: Ear infections can interfere with one’s ability to hear and interpret naturally. If an infection is left untreated, hearing loss can become more acute and cause the sufferer to speak inaudibly.
  • Build up of Ear Wax: Earwax buildup can literally block out the traveling waves of sound, which can in turn interfere with the receiving and processing process.
  • Medical Disorders: Poor circulation brought on by disorders such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer is another common cause of hearing loss. The inadequate supply of blood flow can disrupt the function of the organ which can result in mild to moderate hearing loss.
  • Certain Medication: There are over two hundred different synthetic medications that can disturb the function of the sensory system. This side effect can cause a noticeable decrease in the ability to hear and communicate.
  • Genetics: Some people are born more vulnerable to hearing deterioration than others.

Common Symptoms of Hearing Loss:

The symptoms of sudden hearing loss are more noticeable than hearing loss that happens gradually over a long period of time. However, the telltale signs that there is some level of hearing loss are misunderstanding common words and sounds. Additionally, hearing a constant ringing in your ear, the continual appeal to ask people to repeat themselves and noticing other people complain that you are speaking too loudly are also common symptoms of hearing loss.

6 Methods to Reverse Hearing Loss:

Hearing loss can be successfully reversed depending on the cause of the impairment and the severity of it. Below are six methods commonly used to help reverse signs of hearing loss…

  1. Deter Triggers: The first method to reversal is to absence oneself from triggers that may cause an impairment such as load noise and certain medications.
  2. Diet Changes: Healthy foods can enhance the function of all the organs within the body. Eating more foods rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can facilitate internal balance that can result in hearing more fluently.
  3. Holistic Healing: Acupuncture is often used as an alternative treatment for tinnitus (continual ringing in the ear). Additionally, meditation, yoga poses and deep breathing exercises are often recommended for their ability to create internal calm and balance.
  4. Regularly Cleaning : Hearing loss due to wax build-up can be reversed by regularly cleaning the ear. It is important to note that a certain level of wax is beneficial to preventing germ invasion. Nevertheless, some people just tend to produce more wax than necessary. The most common way to clean the ears is with cotton swabs, however this method is usually ineffective and may cause damage to the ear drum. The correct way to clean the ears is with a washcloth drenched in warm water or with gentle irrigation.
  5. Surgery: Ear surgery may reverse hearing loss due to an abnormality. The possibility of this option can be determined with x-rays and doctor evaluations.
  6. Medication: Antibiotics can be prescribed to cure ear infections which can restore hearing back to one hundred percent. Additionally there are certain medications available that help speed up circulation that can encourage a health flow of blood traveling to and from the ears.

3 Ways to Prevent Hearing Loss:

As with everything else in life, the best treatment for hearing loss is prevention. By practicing prevention methods, you will be at higher risk for maintaining complete functionality of your sense of hearing. Below are three easy ways to prevent it…

  1. Wear Earplugs: Invest in a pair of high quality noise-canceling earplugs or headphones and wear them in heavy-noise situations such as construction sites, concerts and hunting. Additionally, if you do not have earplugs, use your fingers to deter the noise until it passes.
  2. Increase Antioxidant Intake: Increase your level of antioxidants by eating more fruits and vegetables. The surplus of antioxidants will deter free radicals that cause infection and disease.
  3. Regular Hearing Loss Test: Make it a priority to get your ears tested at least once a year. Testing will let you know the level at which you are hearing and can help prevent further hearing loss.

Living with Hearing Loss:

For many people, hearing loss is too severe to reverse. Acute hearing loss can lead to the person having total hearing loss in one ear or even becoming completely deaf. For such people, coping and learning live with their decrease sense of hearing may be a hard transition. However, there are advanced technologies and therapies that can help those with hearing loss live a more independent life.

  • Hearing Aids: Hearing aids are the most common devices used to help the hearing impaired. Hearing aids are medical devices that are designed to help amplify sound so that the wearer hears and speaks more fluently. With the aid of an ear, nose and throat doctor as well as a hearing aid specialist, the wearer can find hearing aids that match their complexion perfectly and fit snugly so that no discomfort is felt.
  • Cochlear Implant: A cochlear implant is a medical device that is implanted surgically underneath the skin. This device helps to convert sound and enhance hearing by stimulating the nerve in the auditory region. However, as effective as the cochlear implant can be, not all hearing impaired people qualify to receive this therapy. An evaluation from a team of doctors and specialist will determine that factor.
  • Hearing Assistive Technology Systems: Hearing assistive technology systems are aids that enhance the effectiveness of hearing aids and cochlear implants. They are highly valuable in crowded environments and noisy places. Such devices are available for personal use via neck-loops, or it can be installed in public setting such as schools, movie theaters and other such public places.
  • Proofing the Home: For those learning to live with hearing loss, it is important to proof the home to be hearing-impaired friendly. Communication and independence will come more easily in proofed homes. Products such as vibrators and alarms are highly valuable in emergency situations. Vibrators can alert the sleeping as well as low-frequency sound alarms. Close captioning on television sets and phones can also enhance communication and make living and communicating with the hearing more pleasurable.
  • Seeking Help: For many people still trying to cope with decreased hearing, the feeling of being lost, depressed and confused is natural. It is important to seek outside help to find motivation and new purpose for life. Getting involved in the hearing-impaired community and learning sign language are great ways to find comfort and strength. Additionally, learning how to manage stress through breathing and meditation exercises can aid in transitioning.

Hearing loss is the second most common body-degradation next to vision loss. However, as technology continues to grow, advances are continuing. More people have regained their sense of hearing and living more independently.

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