Hearing loss can be very traumatic. Each person reacts to hearing loss in a different way. For some, it can result in social problems, like people avoiding them at gatherings.it can also result in psychological and physical problems. Their mobility may decrease because of hearing loss. So it is very natural to seek solutions to reverse hearing loss.
The good news is that there are ways to reverse loss of hearing in most cases. But before that, you need to know the types of hearing loss.
Types of hearing loss
There are three main types of hearing loss:
Sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common form of hearing loss. This loss is mostly permanent.it is caused due to the auditory nerve or the cilia (tiny hair-like cells in the inner ear). Meniere’s disease can cause sensorineural hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss
This type of hearing loss is less common then sensorineural hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss is caused by an obstruction or damage to your inner or middle ear. This may stop sound from being carried to your inner ear. In conductive hearing loss, the inner ear and auditory nerve are undamaged. This type of hearing loss may be permanent or temporary. Anything from wax build-up to a break between the bones of the middle ear.
Mixed hearing loss
When hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing, it is called mixed hearing loss.
Reversing Hearing Loss
Once the type of hearing loss is identified, it can be treated accordingly.
Reversing Sensorineural Hearing Loss
The auditory nerve and cilia, once damaged, cannot be repaired. However, all hope is not lost for those affected with sensorineural hearing loss. New advances in technology make it easy to regain hearing. There is a small possibility of not being able to reverse hearing loss also.
- Cochlear Implants
A cochlear implant is attached to your inner ear. It bypasses the damaged part of the ear and connects sound directly to the auditory nerve. Cochlear implants are very effective. Even those with severe sensorineural hearing loss have a partial reversal of hearing loss.
- Hearing aids
A hearing aid is a small electronic device that is worn in, around or behind the ear. It amplifies sounds so that a person suffering from sensorineural hearing loss can hear more clearly. This is widely used as a means to communicate with people suffering from hearing loss.
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Reversing Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss might be due to a variety of reasons. An ENT doctor usually examines the reason for hearing loss and suggests treatment accordingly. If the problem is minor, hearing loss may be reversed. But there are cases where hearing cannot be regained.
- Blockage removal
Often, conductive hearing loss is caused due to wax impaction, infections in the ear canal, abnormal growths or foreign bodies in your ear. The doctor determines the cause and removes the cause of the blockage. Wax and foreign bodies can be removed noninvasively. Growths can be removed by minor surgical procedures. Infections can be treated with antibiotics.
Conductive hearing loss is also caused by medical issues like stenosis (abnormally narrow ear canal), exostoses (thickened bone around the ear canal), otosclerosis (abnormal bone growth), or ossicular chain discontinuity (separation of middle ear bones). In these cases, your doctor might suggest the following options:
- Traditional hearing aids
- Bone-conduction hearing aids
- Bone-anchored implantable devices
- Middle ear implants
Reversing Mixed Hearing Loss
In this case, your doctor will suggest treatment based on the specific sensorineural and conductive hearing loss conditions you have.
Hearing loss may be traumatic but is potentially reversible. The first step you should take once you experience hearing loss is to consult your doctor. An ENT doctor can properly diagnose what type of hearing loss you have and suggest treatment accordingly.
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