There are many things in life you take for granted—your senses are at the top of the list. Just like when you’re sick, all you want is to feel normal again. But unlike sickness, when you begin to lose one of your senses, like your hearing, the solutions get much more complicated.
To get back to enjoying conversations with loved ones or tuning into your favorite TV program, you might search for treatments for hearing loss. But before you explore your options and begin to consider them, you need to understand what options are available and what it takes to achieve results through them. Plus, it’s important to know what you’ll have to pay for them.
Different types of hearing loss demand different types of treatment. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to treating hearing loss. Whether it’s through some sort of device, sound therapy, or surgery, there are many ways to tackle losing your hearing.
You may think the only people that lose their hearing are older people, but this isn’t true. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, more than 5 percent of the world’s total population require rehabilitation to address their disabling hearing loss (that’s 432 million adults and 34 million children). It’s an extremely common issue that affects many families; fortunately, more treatment options are emerging every day. Keep reading to learn more about them.
What Are The Most Common Types of Hearing Loss?
Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine outlines four main types of hearing loss. We break them down below.
- Sensorineural Hearing Loss: This is the most common type of hearing loss, largely because it can happen as a result of several different causes. This happens when the inner ear or hearing nerve itself becomes damaged. In the cochlea, there are miniature hair cells. When these are damaged, this type of hearing loss occurs.
- Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss: As its name suggests, this type of hearing loss happens very suddenly—often over the course of a couple of days. It could be because of ear damage from injury, exposure to loud noises, or other causes. It’s important to seek treatment without delay if you feel your hearing slipping.
- Conductive Hearing Loss: Compared to the above types of hearing loss that occur in the inner ear, conductive hearing loss occurs in the outer or middle ear. This form occurs because sound waves can’t get through to the inner ear due to blockage by earwax or another object. It can also occur if there is fluid present in the middle ear, an injured eardrum, or some kind of bone abnormality.
- Mixed Hearing Loss: Unfortunately, some people can experience both sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss. They could have one and develop another, or they can suffer an injury that results in the presence of both types. In this case, there are multiple ways to address potential treatments.
There is also a simple age-related hearing loss that occurs because of changes in the auditory nerve or within the ear. This is technically called presbycusis. This is likely the type of hearing loss that results in your grandparents asking “what?” 50 times during your visit.
Conclusion - What Types of Treatment Are Available?
In some cases, treatment is much easier than others. For example, for conductive hearing loss, there is often a medical treatment option presented, such as taking medications or undergoing surgery to remove the blockage. An audiologist will conduct an analysis of your specific situation and make recommendations.
Below is a list of popular treatment options for hearing loss:
- Hearing aids: These can make sounds louder in the ear and help people with age-related hearing loss or sensorineural hearing loss. The new ones even have Bluetooth.
- Assisted listening devices: These instruments are used to boost sound and help tackle situations like large groups, television listening systems, amplified telephones, and more.
- Sound therapy: This helps if you’re experiencing tinnitus or other sensations as a result of your hearing loss.
- Text display systems: This helps a person read while they listen to better make out what is trying to be said or heard.
- Cochlear implants: If your hearing loss is severe or progressed strongly, a cochlear implant is an electronic device implanted into your ear.
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