Hearing loss has become increasingly common in Americans today. While advances in technology and medicine have resulted in several modern treatments for most forms of hearing loss, the ideal treatment depends on a variety of factors, including the underlying causes, the extremity, and the kind of hearing loss.
If you’re having hearing troubles, the foremost step is scheduling a hearing test and an extensive evaluation from an audiologist. With that said, here are the types of hearing loss.
- Conductive: This kind of loss occurs when the middle or outer ear can’t carry enough sound to the inner ear. Read more about conductive hearing loss and its causes.
- Sensorineural: This begins when the auditory nerve, brain, or inner ear can no longer detect sound normally.
- Mixed Hearing Loss: This is a combination of both the sensorineural and conductive kinds.
However, regardless of the type you’ve been diagnosed with, there are treatments that can help you.
Importance Of Treating Hearing Loss
In younger children, hearing loss can negatively impact language development, social engagement, and learning. In adults, it makes communication difficult, severely affecting the quality of life. In fact, for seniors, hearing loss is linked to various psychological and physical problems, ranging from depression and cognitive decline to higher chances of falls and trips. Treating hearing loss should be considered essential, regardless of the type, age, or its causes.
Treating Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is often permanent because the hair cells inside your ears cannot be repaired once they are damaged. Hearing aids are the standard treatment for individuals with this kind of hearing loss. In some instances, cochlear implants are also recommended.
- Hearing Aids
If your audiologist recommends using hearing aids, then they will have to work with you to fine-tune them to your specified hearing loss during a procedure called fitting. Although hearing aids do not restore hearing, they can amplify sounds in the ranges you need. New York hearing doctors can help you find the best suitable device you can use.
Nowadays, hearing aids can be customized highly to meet your hearing needs — minimizing the sounds you don’t need to hear while amplifying those you do. While they can’t exactly imitate normal hearing and come with their fair share of disadvantages, they still work quite well for people living with mild to middling hearing loss. They are considered early interventions for hearing loss.
- Cochlear Implants
For several individuals, hearing aids don’t offer adequate amplification, prompting their audiologist to recommend cochlear implants as a better treatment. Cochlear implants require surgery; however, they are an excellent alternative for anyone who isn’t helped by hearing aids. Adults, seniors, and children are all possible candidates for implants.
Treating Conductive Hearing Loss
The other major type of hearing loss is called conductive hearing loss. It is usually temporary and occurs in the outer or middle parts of the ear. Earwax accumulation in the ear, a punctured eardrum, or moisture in the middle ear can result in conductive hearing loss.
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- Surgical Treatments
The treatment options for conductive hearing loss often involve a form of medical intervention from an ear-nose-throat specialist to tackle the specified cause. This means that there’s an anatomical reason why sound isn’t getting to the inner ear, like otosclerosis. In many instances, surgery fixes the problem, especially if you have an anatomical or bone problem.
However, in the likelihood that the medical treatment doesn’t fix the hearing loss or it is a combination of conductive and sensorineural, a hearing healthcare specialist will investigate alternative options. These options include surgical insertion of a bone-anchored hearing system that works differently from cochlear implants or hearing aids.
Treating Sudden Hearing Loss
Sudden hearing loss in a single or both ears always require medication and should be treated urgently. Some of the common causes of sudden hearing loss include head trauma, a tumor, an infection, accumulation of earwax, or other health issues. If you notice that you’ve suddenly lost your hearing, contact a hearing health professional immediately, as urgent treatment significantly decreases your chances of more severe hearing complications.
Treating Hidden Hearing Loss
Believe it or not, it’s possible for a person to have a positive hearing test result but still experience hearing difficulties. This type of hearing loss is referred to as Hidden. While there’s no established set of instructions to identify hidden hearing loss, here are some things to look out for:
- Incorrectly hearing people.
- Unable to concentrate or feeling distracted in noisy settings.
- A proclivity for quiet areas for conversations.
In many cases, individuals suffering from hidden hearing loss can benefit from using hearing aids, essentially to help with communication in noise settings.
It’s quite common to notice tinnitus when you begin to experience age-related hearing loss. In fact, tinnitus can be one of the foremost symptoms of hearing loss. Luckily, modern hearing aids usually come with tinnitus masking features to aid in tuning out the uncomfortable ringing inside your ears. There are also a variety of additional tinnitus treatment options available, such as tinnitus sound therapy. It’s important to talk to a hearing health specialist about your condition.
Auditory Training and Rehab
Whether you’re prescribed cochlear implants, hearing aids, or other hearing devices, auditory training & rehab can aid the brain in relearning how to convert noise into sound. At times, these programs can be undergone entirely on your own, while others can be more demanding, similar to visiting an occupational or physical therapist.
However, even utilizing smartphone apps or listening to audiobooks to improve hearing can be beneficial and reduce symptoms such as listening fatigue. Although this isn’t a treatment per se, practicing how to read a speech can help bolster your communication skills, making your daily activities and understanding others less frustrating.
Assistive Listening Devices
Cochlear implants and hearing aids are quite helpful, but oftentimes, they are unable to address the specific needs of each individual. In these cases, there are numerous ALDs (Assistive Listening Devices) and accessories that can connect communication gaps. ALDs can enhance your experience while listening to music, watching movies, or talking over the phone. Some of these ALDs include amplified phones, FM systems, smartphone apps, captioned phones, and television hearing devices.
Hearing loss has become too common nowadays, but today’s advanced medical options and technology make it much easier to receive the treatment you need. However, even with all those advancements, it’s still important to take extra measures to protect your ears.
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