Hearing Loss in adults

Hearing loss is the most common issue among adults and children these days. On an average, 8% of adults experience hearing loss every year in India. For all of us, life’s pleasures depend on good hearing. Hearing loss occurs gradually with age and people hardly notice these changes until it is too late. Early signs of a hearing loss in adults are as follows:

  • Unable to follow or understand conversations.
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Unable to enjoy subtle sounds of birds chirping and children laughing.
  • Group conversations become tiring to follow.
  • Hearing over the telephone becomes difficult.

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It has been most studied and documented. Recent studies suggest the earlier hearing loss is identified and intervened, the easier it is to help the child to bridge the gap. Some important tips which can help the child with hearing loss are-

Types of Hearing Loss

There are three parts of the human ear as discussed earlier. So, the type of hearing loss will depend on the part of the ear mechanism that is damaged. Hence, there are broadly three types of hearing loss.

  • Conductive hearing loss
  • Sensorineural hearing loss
  • Mixed hearing loss

Let’s talk about types of hearing loss in detail.

Conductive Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss is common. Further, when there is any damage in the outer and middle ear, we see a conductive hearing loss. In summary, if these two parts have an issue in conducting the sound waves, it results in hearing loss.

The symptoms of a conductive hearing loss are:

  • Muffled hearing
  • Steady or gradual decline in hearing
  • Fullness in the ear
  • Ear discharge
  • Pain or itchy feeling in the ear
  • Reduced hearing sensitivity to soft sounds

The causes of conductive hearing loss are:

  • Ear wax
  • Injury or foreign body in the ear canal
  • Infections of the outer ear
  • Swimmer’s ear
  • Outer ear birth defects
  • Eardrum damage
  • Middle ear infections

The treatment options for conductive hearing loss are:

  • ENT consultation is a must
  • Medications/ Surgery options
  • Hearing aids

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss is seen often. Further, when the inner ear or organ of Corti is damaged or not functioning, it causes a hearing loss. Overall, the sensory and neural parts of the hearing system are defective.

The symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss are:

  • Sudden or progressive hearing loss
  • Inability to hear loud sounds
  • Hearing in noise is difficult
  • Vestibular or balance issues
  • Inability to understand speech
  • Muffled hearing

The causes of sensorineural hearing loss are:

  • Sensory birth defects
  • Congenital hearing loss
  • Head injury
  • Mumps, rubella, or other infections
  • Oto-toxic drugs
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Aging

The treatment options for conductive hearing loss are:

Mixed Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss is caused when all three parts of the ear are involved. Further, any issue in the outer, middle, and inner ear in combination can cause hearing loss. Furthermore, this type of hearing loss occurs when factors causing conductive and sensorineural hearing loss are present together.

The symptoms of mixed hearing loss are:

  • Gradual hearing loss
  • Inability to hear loud/soft sounds
  • Unilateral or hearing loss in one ear
  • Understanding speech is difficult

The causes of mixed hearing loss can be any factor that causes conductive or sensorineural hearing loss.

What are the causes of hearing loss?

Hearing loss is caused by many factors. To understand this, first, let’s talk about types of hearing loss.

The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) reports three basic types of hearing loss. This is,

  • Conductive hearing loss
  • Sensorineural hearing loss
  • Mixed hearing loss

The type of hearing loss depends upon the part of the ear which is damaged. Further, ASHA states, hearing loss occurs due to several underlying causes. Further, the causes of hearing loss depend on the type and the population involved. Overall, the causes for hearing loss are enlisted below.

What are hearing aids for adults?

Every hearing aid has an inbuilt microphone that picks up sounds, receiver that delivers sounds inside the ear, a battery compartment and a volume control. Advance technologies allow hearing aids to pair with smart phones, television and other electronic gadgets. The following lists some points about hearing aids for adults:

  • Change directionality to make group conversations easy to follow.
  • Hearing aids provide relief from ringing sensations in the ears.
  • Compatibility to live stream audio/video from your TV/computer or radio.
  • They are available in all skin tones and are water resistant.
  • Hearing aids are available for all cosmetic choices.

First hearing aid fitting session:

Once the hearing aids are selected, you may fix an appointment with your audiologist for the fitting session. This appointment may last up to 2 hours, be prepared in advance. During the session, your audiologist may do the following:

  • Un-box the hearing aids and will explain the functioning and use of the device.
  • Provide you with a user manual, maintenance tips and simple troubleshooting steps.
  • Connecting the hearing aids to external devices such as a Bluetooth microphone etc.
  • Program the hearing aids as per the audiogram.
  • Fitting the hearing aids in the ear.
  • Testing your auditory responses after switching on the device.

Your audiologist may recommend follow up appointments to re-program and monitor the hearing aid performance.

If you have any further queries regarding hearing loss, kindly contact us

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