Hearing Loss Explained

Balance and hearing are the two primary tasks provided by our ears. As we get older we have to accept that our ability to hear deteriorates, and the deterioration will usually be in our perception of audible frequency range and the ability to hear quiet sounds. Hearing injury is in reality so common that of those older than sixty five, one third experience a degree of hearing loss. For those older than seventy five fifty percent suffer a hearing reduction. There is another factor here as well, and that lies in our genes. Our inherited capacity may also reduce our hearing with age. Some people will suffer due to the effects of heredity alone, and others from heredity and excessive noise damage.

Hearing loss affects us in different ways but usually exhibits as one or more of the following symptoms: –

1) If you find yourself constantly asking for people to speak clearly and sounds are fuzzy or muffled

2) Your understanding fails despite you think you can hear what is said

3) A common request you make is for others to say things for you again, more clearly, loudly etc.

4) You find you are continuously turning up the sound level on the television etc.

If you suffer from any of the above, combined with a desire to withdraw from conversations or avoid social settings, it is highly likely that you are suffering from a loss of hearing. Damage within the cochlea is the most common cause of hearing difficulties. The cochlea is the coiled structure within the inner ear within which hearing takes place. Exposure to loud sounds, that is above 85 decibels is damaging to it after a period of time. A common way to show decibels is to refer in text to dBs.

Other common causes of hearing are: –

1) Diseases of the ear, such as can be during child illnesses

2) Build up of unwanted bone or tissue obstructing the bones of the ear

3) Outer or middle ear tumor growth

4) Ear drums which have ruptured.

Other non-age related causes for deafness include Auditory Neuropathy, Meniere's Disease, Noise Ostosclerosis and Usher's Syndrome.

All of these causes result in just three types of causes of deafness, which comprise: –

A) Conductive Hearing Loss

This occurs when sound is not conductively efficiently to the middle ear, which may be caused by fluid, earwax, infection, foreign matter or malformation of the middle or outer ear.

B) Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Inner ear problems of any kind, and here we include all those listed earlier plus damage due from any accident to the head which also damages the hearing organs. A person suffering from this type of hearing loss may exhibit a lack of speech comprehension.

C) Mixed Hearing Loss

Combine A) and B) and you have this unfortunate type of loss or deafness. Thankfully, this is not a common event.

That completes our discussion of the three types of deafness.

Hearing injury may be sudden and incurable, or it may be short term. Deafness may strike quite quickly and be resolved equally speedily when infections of the ears occur.

This article is for general information use. It does not contain advice, nor must it be in any way be interpreted as doing so. Consult your own doctor, or other qualified hearing expert.

There are very few people who have a hearing loss problem who can not be helped by the careful choice of the right hearing aid.