Hearing Impairment

Are you aware that worldwide roughly 10% of the population have some degree of hearing impairment?

Losing your abliliy to hear may be attributable to a number of issues, including, ageing, noises, health issues, chemical substances and actual physical stress.

Hearing tests are helpful to identify the seriousness of the loss of hearing and examination for reduced hearing is encouraged for every newborn baby.

Despite the fact that the answers are portrayed in decibels, hearing impairment is generally referred to as mild, moderate, severe or profound. The loss of hearing is in most cases acquired by someone who at some stage in life didn’t have hearing impairment.

Mild

People suffering mild loss of hearing can experience difficulties hearing conversation especially in noisy circumstances and several wear hearing aids while some others find lipreading invaluable.

Moderate

Moderate loss of hearing can often mean many people have difficulties following verbal communication without having to use a hearing aid in normal conditions, and they’ve got increased difficulty in noisey situations, hearing aids are generally a enormous help used in conjunction with lipreading proficiency.

Severe

Those individuals with severe hearing difficulties struggle to follow conversation even while using a hearing aid plus lipreading abilities can be extremely advantageous, they are going to also find it hard to make use of an adapted voice phone even with the use of strong amplification.

Profound

Those with profound loss of hearing find hearing aids of little if any advantage in any respect. People who have been born deaf or were to become deaf when they are young will probably use sign language.

Most will be dependent to a great extent on lipreading and they are not able to make use of speech phone even with the use of amplification.

Prevention

There are a variety of steps that may prevent losing your hearing ability and may include staying away from excessive noises, that damage hair follicles inside the ears and isn’t repairable, chemical agents, and actual physical stress.

And yet, in some instances including for example as a result of illness, health problems, or genetic makeup, it will be not possible to reverse or inhibit.

Symptoms Of Hearing Loss And Causes

Hearing Loss, also known as Hearing Impairment is described as the decrease in the ability of the ears and its other parts to perceive as well as detect sounds.

It can happen either suddenly or gradually.Hearing loss is commonly observed in older adults but it can happen to anyone regardless of race, age or sex. It can range from being a mild to a severe hearing impairment and it can also be temporary, permanent or reversible.

There are different causes of hearing impairment each with its own different symptoms. It all depends on what type and what part or parts of the auditory system are affected.

Hearing Impairment

Conductive Hearing Loss

One type of hearing loss is called conductive. This usually happens when sound is not conducted normally through the external ear (either outer ear or middle ear). This type, however, is considered as a mild type of hearing impairment since the inner ear will be able to compensate for the loss.

With this type, there will be no apparent problems in hearing as long as the sound is loud enough and audible enough to be heard.

Conductive hearing loss can be the result of ear canal obstruction, abnormalities in the ossicles, tympanic membrane and the superior canal dehiscence syndrome.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Another type of hearing loss is called sensorineural. Unlike conductive type, the affected part is that of the inner ear specifically the cochlea. In the cochlea, there’s what we call the organ of Corti that has hair cells. Abnormalities in these hair cells can lead to sensorineural hearing impairment.

Another not-so-common cause of sensorineural is damage in the auditory nerve system. The 8th cranial nerve, also known as the vestibulocochular nerve, is responsible for receiving and interpreting sounds. In very rare cases, this nerve gets damaged which leads to the impairment of the sense of hearing.

In terms of severity, sensorineural type can be classified as mild, moderate or severe. Most often than not, this type can become severe to a point where impairment can lead to total deafness.

Environmental Noise

Environmental Noise is one of the leading causes of hearing loss and is known as Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. It has been observed that long-term exposure to environmental noise can be detrimental to the auditory ability of a person.

In fact, according to some research, people who live near freeways and airports are more prone to have their ability to hear impaired. Multimedia devices such as mp3 players are also known to cause Noise-Induced Hearing Loss.

It is because headphones and earphones are nearer to the eardrums compared to the standard speakers. If exposed to these kinds of devices for a long time there is a good chance that hearing loss can occur.

Genetic

Some people may not know, hearing loss is genetic which means that it can be inherited. This illness is passed through the descendants either through a dominant or a recessive gene. If it involves the dominant gene, deafness can likely happen to at least one relative every generation.

If it involves the recessive gene, then it may skip generations but definitely, the risk of acquiring it is still there.

Hearing loss caused by genetics is usually apparent by the time the baby is born.

One type of congenital hearing defect is known as Connexin 26 deafness.

Other common hearing impairments caused by the dominant gene are Waardenburg syndrome and Stickler syndrome.

Hearing impairments caused by the recessive gene are Usher syndrome and Pendred Syndrome.

Hearing Impairment

Illnesses

There is also a possibility that it can be caused by the current health condition of a person. It has been noted that measles can cause damage to the auditory nerve that could lead to hearing loss.

Another illness that can cause hearing impairment is meningitis that, just like measles, can also damage the auditory nerve.

Illnesses that involve the immune system are also candidates. These illnesses can include HIV and AIDS.

Medications

Some medications can cause permanent damage to the ears. This is called ototoxicity, the most common group that is known to do this is the aminoglycosides like gentamicin.

There are, however, other medications that may cause temporary hearing loss, this includes NSAIDs, diuretics and even aspirin.

Physical Trauma

Physical injury to the ear, especially if some parts of it get damaged, can cause it. However, physical trauma does not only pertain to the ear but also to the whole head. If the head gets hit and the vestibulocochular (auditory nerve system) gets damaged, then hearing impairment is imminent.

Hearing loss is commonly observed in older adults but it can happen to anyone regardless of race, age or sex. It can range from being a mild to a severe hearing impairment and it can also be temporary, permanent or reversible.

Technology For Your Hearing Impairment

Our hearing is something that most of us take for granted. It’s when our hearing starts to deteriorate that we suddenly realise how much we depend on it. It doesn’t need a total loss of hearing to make everyday living much more difficult.

What happens when you wake up in the morning.

Do you use an alarm clock? If this is the case at some point it just won’t be loud enough to rouse you from your deep slumbers.

Sometimes you’ll hear it, sometimes you won’t, and if you hearing gets worse the alarm will stop waking you up all together. Fortunately there are alarm clocks available that are designed for those who have a hearing impairment.

Not only are these clocks extra loud but they vibrate to shake you awake. So you can go to bed knowing that your vibrating alarm clocks will get you up on time in the morning.

Our hearing is something that most of us take for granted.

Then there’s the phone problem.

These days we rely heavily on using our phones to keep in contact with our nearest and dearest, if you’ve reached the stage when you’ve turned up the volume on your phone to the maximum your next step is to look at hard of hearing phones.

Such phones not only have extremely loud ringers but you can amplify the phone’s volume so you can hear what’s being said to you. You may have to look around to find one but they are available.

Don’t forget doorbells. You’ll want to know when someone has come to visit. Extra loud doorbells are available as are one with portable devices that you can carry around with you. When someone rings your doorbell the device will vibrate to let you know someone is there.

Having a hearing impairment doesn’t mean you have to feel cut off from what you used to do. There’s plenty of new technology out there to let you lead as normal a life as possible.