What is Hearing Loss ?
Hearing loss is the inability to hear partially or totally in one or both ears. Generally, sound is indicated by 'frequency' and 'intensity'. In 'frequency', our ears can normally hear between 20 to 20,000 Hertz. When hearing threshold or the least hearing ability of a person is over 25 dB (decibel), then it can be termed as hearing loss or impairment. Hearing loss treatment involves diagnosis of the type and degree of hearing loss and based on the type and degree of hearing loss the treatment would be either medical or rehabilitative.
Hearing Loss: Facts & Figures
- Approximately, 33% of the world's population above 65 years are affected by significant hearing loss
- In urban and rural India, the prevalence of hearing problem at 60 years of age are about 62% and 56%, respectively
- In India, Hearing Loss has been identified as the topmost cause of sensory deficit
- Every year 7% children are born with hearing disability
Causes of Hearing Loss
We are regularly exposed to various types of sounds, which are surfacing every now and then. Hearing loss or problem can occur from one or multiple reasons; the most common factors as well as specific causes leading to hearing loss among adults and children are:
Common Symptoms of Hearing Loss
If a person is unable to lead normal life due to difficulty in hearing, this is the early indication of hearing loss. Here are some of the most significant symptoms of hearing loss. If you have been facing such situations repetitively and frequently, you might be on the verge of hearing loss.
- Require frequent repetition
- Have difficulty in following group conversation
- Have your TV or radio volume turned up too high
- Respond inappropriately in conversations
- Have ringing in your ears
- Feel stressed-out from straining to hear others
- Feel annoyed at others as you can't hear properly
- Withdraw from social situations because of hearing difficulty
- Have a family history of hearing loss
- Take medicines that can harm the hearing system (ototoxic drugs)
If you are suspecting hearing loss, don't delay and get it confirmed by booking an appointment with our audiologist.
Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be mild, severe or profound, depending upon the type of hearing loss and the degree of hearing threshlod (the least hearing ability of a person). The type of hearing loss is identified by detecting which area or section of the ear the problem is originating from. The three main section of the ear are termed as the outer, middle and inner ear.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Hearing loss due to problems in outer or middle ear is termed as conductive hearing loss. Generally, such problems may be cured with proper medication or the use of hearing aids.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is hearing problems arising out of inner ear or auditory nerve disorders. Though it is a permanent problem, hearing restoration is absolutely possible with the help of hearing aids or other hearing devices.
Mixed Hearing Loss
A combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss (problems in both outer/middle and inner ear) is termed as mixed hearing loss. Hearing aids or other hearing devices can help in hearing restoration for most of the patients suffering from this type of hearing loss.
Ill-Effects of Hearing Loss
Hearing problems, if neglected for long, create multiple obstacles in life. The negative impacts of hearing loss can make one’s life more challenging with the passing of time. Probably, the most common difficulties people with hearing loss come across are:-
- Inability to understand speech sound
- Degraded capability to communicate
- Delay in language development
- Effect in economic & educational background
- Social isolation
Hearing Loss Treatment depends on the type of hearing loss that an individual is suffering from. If the Hearing Loss is of conductive in nature and is temporary, usually the treatment of choice is medical i.e. medication or surgery. If the hearing loss is of sensorineural in origin the said hearing loss is permanent in nature or is irreversible. Hence, hearing loss treatment in this case would be either hearing aids or cochlear implant. For Mixed Hearing loss individuals the treatment involves medication or surgery to control the hearing loss of conductive origin followed by hearing restoration through hearing aids for the sensorineural component.