Hearing loss is described as and invisible disability and affects nearly 48 million people in the U.S. alone. While hearing loss is not rare it can still be hard to come to terms with. If you have recently been diagnosed with hearing loss you may be wondering if there is a cure. The answer to that question is not strait forward because there are several different types of hearing loss and treatment depends on the nature of your hearing loss.
Types of hearing loss
There are three main types of hearing loss including sensorineural, conductive and mix of the two, called mixed hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss as it includes noise induced hearing loss and age-related hearing loss. With about one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 living with hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 suffering, it is no wonder sensorineural hearing loss is the most common form. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when either nerves in the inner ear can’t transmit sound information to the brain or the tiny hairs in the inner ear called the cilia, which collect sound, are destroyed, reducing the amount of sound information sent to the brain.
Conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss is caused by a blockage or injury to the middle and outer ear, preventing sound from traveling into the ear canal to be processed by the brain. Blockages can be caused by an impaction of earwax, a build up of fluid due to infection or allergy or a foreign object lodged in the ear canal. Because the ear is a tiny complex and fragile system it is important to not try to ever clear a serious blockage or infection yourself. It is best to leave this to a medical professional, as home remedies such as using a cotton swap can cause worse injuries than the previous problem.
Mixed hearing loss
Mixed hearing loss is just as it sounds, a mixture of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. For instance, you may have an ear infection that makes it even harder than before to hear if already suffering from sensorineural hearing loss.
Reversing sensorineural hearing loss
If you have sensorineural hearing loss you must come to terms with the idea that there is no cure to reverse the damage done to the cilia or nerves in your ear. Once damage has occurred it cannot be repaired which is why practicing using hearing protection is essential to maintaining hearing health. On a positive note, there is successful treatment that can supplement your hearing making it easier for you to participate in conversations and hear the world around you similarly to your previous hearing. Hearing aids have been proven time and time again to help people with mild to moderate hearing loss engage in life, by amplifying the sounds your ear can pick up so to help you hear.
When a hearing loss is more severe a cochlear implant bypasses the injured or damaged portion of your ear and sends information directly to your auditory nerve. Half of the implant sits behind the ear while a portion is surgically inserted in the skin behind the ear.
Reversing conductive hearing loss
The good news is that many cases of conductive hearing loss can be reversed so you can hear as you once did. Often when the source of your hearing loss is from a blockage such as an impaction of wax, and infection, a tumor or a foreign object lodged in your ear a doctor can simply remove the obstruction to return your hearing to its original ability. There are many abnormalities that can occur in your ear that make hearing more of a challenge including an abnormally narrow ear canal a thickening of the bone in the ear canal or abnormal bone growth in the middle ear. These instances are treated with hearing aids for best results.
Seek Treatment today
No matter what hearing loss you have, you will not know how to treat it with out the cause and severity of your hearing loss. A hearing health care professional can help you find the best solution to your hearing problem so you can get back to a life of healthy hearing as soon as possible.