Hearing Loss: Prevention and Treatment

by Sam Malone


Almost all people experience at least some amount of hearing loss, as they age. Studies indicate that at least 33% of the Americans who are aged between 65 and 75 suffer from some degree of hearing loss in one ear or both ears. In people who are above the age of 75, the count goes up to 50%. People could either suffer from bilateral hearing loss, where they cannot hear properly from both the ears, or they could have hearing problems in one ear only. Since improper hearing abilities can interfere with a person's day to day activities, most people choose to go on for hearing loss treatment, as soon as they realize that something is wrong. However, in order to treat hearing loss problems appropriately, it is important to know what the exact causes of the problem are.

Hearing Loss Causes

A person has the ability to hear things, when the sound waves come into contact with the structures that are within the ears. These sound waves then get converted into nerve signals, which are recognized as sounds by the brain. There are three major areas that an ear can be classified into: the inner ear, the middle ear and the outer ear. When sound waves pass through a person's outer ear, they create certain vibrations within the eardrum. This eardrum, along with three bones in the middle ear, intensifies the sound vibrations, as they travel towards the area of the inner ear. There are a few other procedures that are involved in allowing a person to distinguish between sounds. However, there are many factors that could act as hearing loss causes in elderly people, young adults or even in children.

Health experts say that the most common hearing loss causes in elderly people are genetic factors and excessive exposure to loud noises over a period of time. However, there could be other hearing loss causes in children and adults too, such as the buildup of ear wax, or certain medical conditions. Congenital hearing loss is also quite common, where babies suffer from hearing problems, right from the time that they are born.

The buildup of earwax is probably one of the most common factors, leading to hearing problems in people of all ages. It is quite natural for the ear to contain some amount of wax, but when the accumulation of wax reaches a very high level, it starts interfering with the conduction of the sound waves. It is also possible for a person to experience hearing loss in one ear due to ear wax buildup. In fact, this is probably one of the most common hearing loss in one ear causes.

Another common cause of hearing loss, could be exposure to high intensity sound, over a extended period of time; this is also known as noise induced hearing loss. A person living in just about any part of the world could be at high risk of hearing loss, caused by exposure to high intensity noise. Fortunately, it is possible to avoid this problem by following a few noise induced hearing loss prevention techniques. There are several protective tools, like earmuffs and earplugs that people can use, to avoid hearing loss problems.

It is also possible for people to experience hearing loss in one ear due to a tumor, an abnormal bone growth, or an infection. There could be several factors that cause an eardrum to get ruptured, which in turn leads to hearing problems. Certain medical conditions could also cause a person to experience hearing loss, like tinnitus.

In case a person suffers from hearing loss in one ear after swimming, it is probably because of the accumulation of water, which should get cleared within a few hours. However, at times it is possible for this problem to last for up to a day or two.

Symptoms

There could be several signs and symptoms that warn a person about potential hearing loss, even before the actual problem occurs. Some of the symptoms include:

  • The muffled quality of sounds and speech
  • Problems in comprehending a person, mainly where there is a crowd or a lot of background noise
  • Asking people to repeat what they have said, or requesting people to speak slowly and clearly
  • Listening to the television or the radio at a very high volume

Hearing loss symptoms in children are not necessarily the same as they are in adults. In children who are very young, it may be observed that speech development is not at par with what it is supposed to be. The child may not startle, upon hearing loud sounds. Most children turn their head to the sound of a rattler within a few weeks, but children with hearing problems will probably fail to do so.

In case a person experiences symptoms like hearing loss in one ear and dizziness, it is absolutely essential to contact a doctor immediately.

Treatment

The treatment of the hearing loss problem depends not only on the cause, but also on the severity of the problem. Some of the most common ways of treating hearing loss are:

  • Removal of earwax: There are several people who use cotton buds, to get rid of the earwax accumulated within the ear canal. However, this not only pushes the wax deeper into the ear, but it could also cause damage to the ear. Therefore, it is best to use hydrogen peroxide only with the recommendation of the doctor to remove the excessive wax in the ear. Alternately, a person could also visit the doctor and go through a proper wax removal procedure.
  • The use of hearing loss aids: If the hearing problem is the result of damage in the inner ear, the use of a hearing aid could help making the sounds stronger and comprehendible. There are several different types or hearing aids available in the market today and people could choose the one that suits them the most.
  • Cochlear implants: This option is the most suitable for those people who are suffering from severe hearing loss problems. A cochlear implant makes up for the damaged parts of the ear, which do not work properly, thereby making it easier for a person to hear.

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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