Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss
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About one-third of people, between the ages of 65 and 75 have some extent of deafness. It’s the third most common health problem in the U.S., and it can affect the standard of your life and relationships. About 48 million Americans have lost some hearing.
Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is defined together of three types:
Conductive (involves outer or middle ear)
Sensorineural (involves inner ear)
Mixed (a combination of the two)
Aging and chronic exposure to loud noises both contribute to deafness. Other factors, like excessive earwax, can temporarily reduce how well your ears conduct sounds.
You can’t reverse most types of hearing loss. However, you and your doctor or a hearing specialist can take steps to reinforce what you hear.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
Signs and symptoms of hearing loss may include:
Muffling of speech and other sounds
Difficulty understanding words, especially against background noise or during a crowd
Trouble hearing consonants
Frequently asking others to talk more slowly, clearly, and loudly
Needing the number of TV or radio
Withdrawal from conversations
Avoidance of some social settings
Early on, high-pitched sounds, like children’s and feminine voices, and therefore the sounds “S” and “F” become harder to form.
You may also:
Have trouble following a conversation when quite one person speaks directly
Think people are mumbling or not speaking clearly
Often misunderstand what others say and respond inappropriately
Get complaints that the TV is too loud
Hear ringing, roaring, or hissing sounds in your ears, referred to as tinnitus
Some Causes of Hearing Loss
Damage to the inner ear. Aging and exposure to banging noises may cause wear and tear on the hairs or nerve cells within the cochlea(#7) that send sound signals to the brain. When these hairs or nerve cells are damaged or missing, electrical signals aren’t transmitted as efficiently, and deafness occurs. Higher-pitched tones may become muffled to you.
It may become difficult for you to select words against ground noise.
The gradual buildup of earwax.
Earwax can block the auditory meatus and stop the conduction of sound waves.
Earwax removal can help restore your hearing.
Ear infection and abnormal bone growths or tumors. In the outer or tympanic cavity, any of those can cause deafness.
Loud blasts of noise, sudden changes in pressure, poking your eardrum with an object, and infection can cause your eardrum to rupture and affect your hearing.
Risks Caused by Hearing Loss
Factors that will damage or cause loss of the hairs and nerve cells in your internal ear include:
Aging. Degeneration of internal ear structures occurs over time.
Loud noise. Exposure to loud sounds can damage the cells of your internal ear. Damage can occur with long-term exposure to loud noises, or from a quick blast of noise, like from a gunshot.
Heredity. Your genetic makeup may cause you to be more vulnerable to ear damage from sound or deterioration from aging.
Occupational noises. Jobs where bangs may be a regular part of the working environment, like farming, construction, or factory work, can cause damage inside your ear.
Recreational noises. Exposure to explosive noises, like from firearms and jet engines, can cause immediate, permanent deafness. Other recreational activities with dangerously high noise levels include snowmobiling, motorcycling, carpentry, or taking note of loud music.
Some medications. Drugs just like the antibiotic gentamicin, sildenafil (Viagra), and certain chemotherapy drugs, can damage the interior ear. Temporary effects on your hearing — ringing within the ear (tinnitus) or deafness — can occur if you are taking very high doses of aspirin, other pain relievers, antimalarial drugs, or loop diuretics.
Some illnesses. Diseases or illnesses that end in high fever, like meningitis, may damage the cochlea.
Hearing loss can have a big effect on your quality of life. Older adults with deafness may report feelings of depression. Because deafness can make conversation difficult, some people experience feelings of isolation. Hearing loss is additionally related to cognitive impairment and decline.
The mechanism of interaction between deafness, cognitive impairment, depression, and isolation is being actively studied. Initial research suggests that treating deafness can have a positive effect on cognitive performance, especially memory.
Babies are often born with severe deafness, and youngsters and adults can catch on at any point in their lives. It can happen suddenly or over a few years, in one or both ears, and be brief or long-lasting.
To understand how deafness happens, it helps to understand how your ear works.
Noise travels through the air as sound waves, which vibrate your eardrum and move three tiny bones inside your ear. That causes waves within the fluid that fills your internal ear. Those waves bend tiny hair cells, which are attached to nerves. They pass electrical signals to the hearing nerve, called the acoustic nerve, which results in the brain.
Tests to diagnose hearing loss may include:
Your doctor will look in your ear for possible causes of your deafness, like earwax or inflammation from an infection. Your doctor also will search for any structural causes of your hearing problems.
General screening tests.
Your doctor may use the whisper test, asking you to hide one ear at a time to work out how well you hear words spoken at various volumes and thus the way you respond to other sounds. Its accuracy can be limited.
App-based hearing tests.
Mobile apps are available that you simply can use by yourself on your tablet to screen for moderate deafness.
Tuning fork tests.
Tuning forks are two-pronged, metal instruments that produce sounds when struck. Simple tests with tuning forks can help your doctor detect deafness. This evaluation can also reveal where in your ear the
Hearing loss can have a significant effect on your quality of life. Older adults with hearing loss may report feelings of depression. Because hearing loss can make conversation difficult, some people experience feelings of isolation. Hearing loss is also associated with cognitive impairment and decline.
The mechanism of interaction between hearing loss, cognitive impairment, depression, and isolation is being actively studied. Initial research suggests that treating hearing loss can have a positive effect on cognitive performance, especially memory.
Babies can be born with severe hearing loss, and children and adults can get it at any point in their lives. It can happen suddenly or over many years, in one or both ears, and be brief or long-lasting.
To understand how hearing loss happens, it helps to know how your ear works. Noise travels through the air as sound waves, which vibrate your eardrum and move three tiny bones inside your ear. That causes waves in the fluid that fills your inner ear. Those waves bend tiny hair cells, which are attached to nerves. They pass electrical signals to the main hearing nerve, called the auditory nerve, which leads to the brain.
If you have hearing problems, help is available. Treatment depends on the cause and severity of your deafness.
Removing wax blockage. Earwax blockage may be a reversible explanation for deafness. Your doctor may remove earwax using suction or a little tool with a loop on the top.
Surgical procedures. Some sorts of deafness are often treated with surgery, including abnormalities of the eardrum or bones of hearing. If you’ve had repeated infections with persistent fluid, your doctor may insert small tubes that help your ears drain.
Hearing aids. If your deafness is thanks to damage to your internal ear, a hearing aid is often helpful. An audiologist can ask you about the potential benefits of a hearing aid and suit you with a tool. Open fit aids are currently the most popular, due to the fit and features offered.
Cochlear implants. If you’ve got more severe deafness and gain limited enjoyment of conventional hearing aids, then a cochlear implant could also be an option. Unlike a hearing aid that amplifies sound and directs it into your ear canal, a cochlear implant bypasses damaged or nonworking parts of your internal ear and directly stimulates the hearing nerve.
An audiologist, alongside a medical doctor who focuses on disorders of the ears, nose, and throat, can discuss the risks and benefits.
If you develop deafness thanks to a buildup of wax within the auditory meatus, you’ll remove the wax reception. Over-the-counter solutions, including wax softeners, can remove wax from the ear. Syringes can also push warm water through the auditory canal to induce the elimination of the wax. Consult your doctor before attempting to remove an object stuck in your ear to avoid unintentionally damaging your ear.
Preventing Hearing Loss
Not all cases of hearing loss are preventable. However, there are several steps that you can use to protect your hearing:
Use safety equipment if you’re employed in areas with loud noises, and wear earplugs once you swim and attend concerts. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports that 15 percent of individuals ages 20 to 69 experienced deafness thanks to banging (a loud sound).
Have regular hearing tests if you’re employed around loud noises, swim often, or attend concerts on a daily basis.
Avoid prolonged exposure to loud noises and music.
Seek help for ear infections. They may cause permanent damage to the ear if they’re left untreated.
Video on Hearing Loss
Also referred to as “coneflowers,” echinacea may be a flower commonly found growing in North America. There are a couple of studies that have found echinacea to be somewhat effective as an antibiotic – it’s previously been tested against the cold, as well as some other infections.
As you can tell from this description, echinacea is a nice supplement, but won’t solve your hearing loss on its own. Keep this in mind, as it will be a common theme throughout the article – natural remedies for hearing loss are supplements, not fix-all cures.
This common ingredient in a lot of Eastern dishes features a hidden restorative property. Well, not exactly hidden – ginger has been used as a natural remedy for hundreds of years.
Ginger is often considered a “superfood.” This term has zero scientific value, but if it were an accepted term, ginger would almost definitely fall beneath its umbrella. It has countless medicinal properties, acting as an antihistamine, painkiller, and – in this case – an antibiotic.
Not only can it help with infections, but ginger contains anti-inflammatory properties that help quell any inflammation within the systema nervosum. As you might remember, the nervous system is responsible for taking the sound from your ears to your brain, so any measures you can take to improve your nervous system could only serve to improve your hearing.
Another supposed “superfood,” turmeric is also commonly used in the Eastern hemisphere for its medicinal value.
Turmeric is loaded with potassium, which is great for your ears. Alongside this, turmeric is extremely bioactive, meaning the positive changes it makes take hold quickly and effectively.
Always consult with your doctor before taking any herbal supplements.
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