Having the 5 senses in perfect condition, undoubtedly represents a vital facility for the good social and human development of any individual. However, some of these senses, such as hearing, can present complications that sensitize their general or partial capacity, and this is called hearing loss . But what can cause it? Are there ways to avoid it? Next we will see everything in detail.
What is hearing loss?
Hearing loss is nothing more than a decrease in hearing sensitivity , which can occur in only one ear, which would be unilateral, or affect both ears, that is, it could be bilateral hearing loss.
Although it is believed that it is a rare pathology, the truth is that more and more people suffer from hearing loss due to various factors. However, one of the most frequent reasons is the arrival of old age, which is known as presbycusis.
How do you know if you suffer from hearing loss?
Faced with a possible case of hearing loss, it is important to maintain a correct attitude to achieve a solution that allows a better quality of life in terms of listening well. Therefore, to determine that it is not a false positive, it is advisable to ask some conventional questions in normal day-to-day situations.
The answer to each of these questions will help to clarify if it is really a hearing loss or is presenting another hearing health problem. Take note, strive to be as honest as possible, and evaluate each objection:
- Are you hearing well?
Certainly the person affected with hearing loss could give a good answer to this question, but those who will answer it better will be your family members or someone who lives with you daily , since they are the ones who initially realize the problem, either because you do not answer when They speak to you or you express yourself with a very high tone of voice to make you listen.
Given this observation, you will only have to take two paths, accept the hearing loss or deny it. Also highlighting that the last option, denial, is a common process in most people. For this reason, it is recurrent to attend to hearing problems after more than 7 years have passed.
- How do you know if you are denying the problem?
If you think you are suffering from hearing loss, but something prevents you from observing that reality, these are possibly part of your thoughts or excuses:
- “I listen well, only they do not speak clearly to me, rather they murmur.”
- “What happens is that the place is noisy, because otherwise I would listen well.”
- “I really did hear it, but I wanted him to repeat it to me again.”
- “I just wasn’t fully focused on what they were talking to me about.”
- “I’m fine, but I do promise to ask for help.”
Does the rest realize that you are not listening well?
Like many other health problems, hearing loss or sensitivity is a fact that cannot be hidden or unnoticed by friends, family, co-workers, and even strangers. We say this because there are some symptoms that could openly expose you , such as these:
- You answer the questions they ask you wrong.
- You often confuse similar words like table and goal, or house and shovel.
- You keep a very high volume on the television or stereo.
- You must constantly repeat what you say.
Are there consequences if you don’t accept having hearing loss?
Really yes, because you could be forcing yourself to transform your social life by refusing to accept a problem, which apart from being normal, presents feasible solutions to dissociate yourself from hearing sensitivity.
- You stop doing favorite activities.
- You avoid any situation that could cause difficulty hearing.
- You lose the dynamism.
- You avoid conversations.
- You lose tolerance towards your family or friends.
What are the types of hearing loss?
Like many medical complications, these can occur in varying degrees or levels , and in the case of hearing loss, which, as we already mentioned, deals with decreased hearing sensitivity , which can occur in only one ear or affect both ears.
To determine to what degree or level the loss of that sense is in a patient, it is necessary to classify how much the hearing thresholds have fallen .
- Mild hearing loss: In this case, it is possible for the affected person to have a normal conversation face to face with another person or with a small group, as long as the environment is calm, without hearing difficulties.
- Moderate hearing loss: Hearing problems occur, even when the receiver is face to face and the environment is calm, without any type of interference.
- Severe hearing loss: The affected person does not perceive the voice at a normal volume , only if it is projected very loudly.
- Profound hearing loss: As in the previous case, the patient does not perceive the voice even though it is loud .
- Anacusis or cofosis: It is the total and complete loss of hearing .
Also, in case you didn’t know, hearing loss keeps another type of classification according to which part of the ear is affected :
- Conductive or transmission hearing loss: It is produced by the alteration of the outer or middle ear.
- Perceptual or sensorineural hearing loss: It is caused by an injury to the inner ear or the auditory nerve pathways.
- Mixed hearing loss: When there are simultaneous alterations in the transmission and perception of sound.
Sensorineural hearing loss
As we anticipated, sensorineural hearing loss occurs when hearing loss occurs due to a condition in the inner ear or the auditory nerve . Mainly, the cause of this problem is direct damage to the cochlea , which is the organ that gives vitality to the sense of hearing.
However, more specifically, it may be a congenital consequence of birth or a pathology acquired at some point in life , either due to head trauma , constant exposure to highly aggressive noise, tumors in the auditory nerve, diseases such as the syndrome. de Meniere or by natural aging of the years. It can also be mentioned that some medications can produce side effects and generate ototoxicity, which would translate into hearing loss.
In the case of children, the most frequent scenario is congenital hearing loss, either by inheritance from the parents or caused by malformations of the structures of the auditory sense during the development of the fetus in pregnancy . These complications can be defined as toxoplasmosis or cytomegalovirus.
Sensorineural hearing loss can present mild or severe, and affect one or both ears , which would be unilateral or bilateral, respectively. If it is a condition in only one ear, it may be difficult to find the providence of background sounds or noises. Now, when it affects bilaterally, the limitation is presented to understand words, even when they are expressed in high volume.
Is there any treatment?
If it is a mild or moderate sensorineural hearing loss, either in one or both ears, the most regular immediate treatment is based on the placement of a conventional hearing aid .
But, if it is a deep and serious condition, it is possible to consider the option of incorporating a bone conduction implant , which is responsible for transmitting sound through the skull bone from the damaged ear to the inner ear on the other side , improving auditory quality and perception.
In case the patient suffers from a profound bilateral loss, the option of incorporating hearing aids is not very useful , since the hearing sensitivity is completely damaged and will not represent any improvement. This is where it is wise to incorporate cochlear implants .
What is a cochlear implant?
It is an electronic device that is established in the middle ear through a surgical intervention that allows the auditory nerve to be stimulated directly . The striking thing about cochlear implants is that unlike sound amplifying hearing aids, they convert sound waves into electrical impulses that the auditory nerve carries to the brain, thus recovering the full sensation of hearing.
Mild hearing loss
At this level of hearing loss, the hearing threshold levels are between 25 and 40, so patients regularly face the difficulties of maintaining a conventional conversation , especially in environments with a lot of noise.
However, it should not be treated as a minor or minor problem, since children with mild hearing loss could be at risk of complications in their learning process , as well as in the development of speech, language, and also their social relationships.
It is important to clarify that not all neonatal hearing tests detect the pathology clearly or directly, so most babies may not represent a problem or be identified as such, but only when some of the aforementioned delays occur.
In more detail, bilateral hearing loss is based on the difficulty of detecting sounds in both ears, which can be partially or totally generated . This condition differs from unilateral hearing loss in that it does not affect only one ear.
Depending on the specific place of the injury, 2 types of hearing loss can be found, which can be conductive or transmission in nature, where the ear is affected in mechanical terms, specifically in the middle and external ear , it can also appear in sensorineural or perceptual character, where the affection is in the inner ear, mainly in the auditory nerve.
In some cases, both types of bilateral hearing loss could coincide in the same patient, putting all 3 parts of the ear at risk at the same time . But, you should also know that these types of hearing loss can occur in both bilateral and unilateral hearing loss.
What are the causes of bilateral hearing loss?
If it is a hearing loss that occurred in adulthood or after childhood, there can be a variety of reasons , such as the ones you will read below:
- Excessive build-up of wax in the ear.
- Ear infections that cause fluid to stay in the ears.
- Damage to the ossicles .
- External objects that have gotten stuck in the ear.
- Scars or holes in the eardrum.
To reduce the chances of suffering from hearing loss, prevention is the best treatment for this and all diseases, therefore it is recommended that periodic reviews of the auditory sense be carried out , especially after 50 years of age. Likewise, it is important to maintain good hearing hygiene , avoid excess moisture in the ears, cold currents, among other care.
Transmission hearing loss
Conductive or transmission hearing loss occurs when sound waves fail to pass into the inner ear through the outer and middle ear . One way to recreate that sensation is by covering your ear and listening to noise from a distance.
There are many causes that can lead to this problem, but the main ones can be described as middle ear infections , which would be otitis media, benign tumors, perforated eardrums, trauma and malformations of the middle and external ear.
Is there a treatment for transmission hearing loss?
The main treatment is based on the incorporation of a hearing aid, as long as it is a mild hearing loss , since if you suffer from moderate or severe hearing loss, the prosthesis would not represent any improvement or solution to the problem. There are also surgical treatments that can be performed depending on the case, the level and the classification of hearing loss of the affected person.
How can you better communicate with hearing loss?
If you are the one who suffers from hearing loss or you are part of the communicational core of a person with this pathology , it is important that you can provide support and collaboration to achieve effective and more pleasant communication , regardless of the natural limitations or interferences of hearing loss. So that you can achieve this, we leave you some suggestions and recommendations that you can take into account.
- Reduce the distance with the person with hearing loss to converse.
- Observe the person from the front so that the projection of the voice goes in their direction.
- Avoid talking while eating or chewing, nor do it while smoking.
- Do not place your hands on your face, or any other object that hides your lips.
- Avoid talking in an environment where there is so much light that it limits the reading of easy expressions, body and lips, by the patient with hearing loss.
- Reduce any noise that may be interfering, such as lowering the volume on the television or radio.
- Pronounce each word well to achieve a clear conversation.
- Don’t get the ideas across too fast.
- Be patient with the inconvenience of understanding.
- Avoid conversations in large groups where communication is more harassed.
It should be noted that many people with mild or recently diagnosed hearing loss may feel some kind of discomfort if they are presented with different or special care. For this reason, it is important to act as naturally as possible, always emphasizing providing maximum collaboration.
However, in other patients with a stronger deficit, it may be very appreciative and even part of your request before talking openly . So, in any case, you must be very observant and determine what attitude to take so as not to cause further discomfort.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.