So, What is hearing?

Now, Hearing is the ability to detect changes in sound vibration through sensory nerves found inside the ears, the scientific term used for hearing is auditory perception.

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What is a hearing loss?

Hearing loss is when the ability to perceive sound vibration is reduced to a small amount or to none which can cause deafness. Some common causes of hearing loss are aging, head injury, tumor, medication, genetics, exposure to noise and an abrupt change in sound vibration which can damage the eardrums and lead to sudden hearing loss etc.

So are the types of hearing loss?

There are three different types of hearings loss namely sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss. As their names suggest they are caused differently and affect different parts of the ear and we are going to discuss each and every type in depth.

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Conductive Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss occurs when there is an obstruction in the middle, or the outer ear, the severity of the loss depends on the cause of the obstacle. What happens is that the obstruction prevents sound vibration from reaching the inner ear and hence reduced hearing or no hearing at all.

Causes

a) Wax impaction
b) Narrowing of the ear canal
c) Otitis externa commonly referred to as the swimmer’s ear
d) Injury of the tympanic membrane
e) Thickening of tympanic membrane or tympanosclerosis
f) Otosclerosis or freezing of ear bones
g) Blockage of eustachian tube

Symptoms

a) Easier hearing using one ear as compared to the next
b) Foul odor coming from the ear canal
c) Feeling one’s voice sounding louder
d) Pain in the ear/s
e) Feeling a sense of pressure in one or both ears.

Treatment

A medical or a surgical operation can be carried out in order to remove the blockages preventing sound from getting to the inner ear, in case it is an infection issue the doctor can prescribe appropriate antibiotics in order to eliminate the infection.

Mixed hearing loss

As the name suggests this type of hearing loss is a combination of the two types we have discussed above.

Cause

It commonly occurs when one condition compounds itself on the other for example you have an infection in the ear and you start losing you hearing through old age.

Symptoms

The symptoms are just a combination of what we have discussed for both of the other types.

Treatment

Treatment will depend if the main cause is either the first or the second type of hearing loss, if its the first you could use hearing aid etc and if its the second a medical or surgical operation could be performed.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

This is the most common type of hearing loss and it comes up when the auditory nerves(found in the inner ear) are damage of thinned due to old age, this type of loss is permanent as it is impossible to replace the nerve system. The auditory nerver which are hair-like structures are used to collect information on clarity and loudness of the sound and hence their loss is fatal.

Causes

a) Aging
b) Injuries
c) Infection
d) Noise exposure
e) Tumour (etc.)

Symptoms

a) It becomes difficult to follow a conversation when two or more people are talking at the same time
b) Noise may become too loud or too quiet than it actually is.
c) Some sounds become difficult to hear
d) Difficult hearing women or children.

Treatment

Since there is no cure for this type of loss we can introduce external devices to help us with the hearing like cochlear implants and hearing aid.

Conclusion

In conclusion, if your loved or friend is suffering from a hearing problem it is advisable to visit a healthcare professional so as to treat the problem as fast as possible.

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