Hearing loss is a common issue that can affect kids, seniors, and everyone in between. There is a broad spectrum of hearing impairment and it can be caused by numerous factors. However, all types of hearing loss have one thing in common: addressing the issue is better than ignoring it. Many hearing-impaired people are hesitant to seek help, but there are many good reasons to explore treatment options.
Hearing Loss in Children and Adults
Chances are that there is at least one person in your life with some form of hearing loss. In fact, most people know many friends and family members with various hearing impairments without even realizing it. This is one of the reasons that people tend to wait seven years to pursue treatment, on average. They feel alone, frustrated, and as if there is no point in trying to get help.
However, those with hearing loss are far from alone. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, around 15% of American adults have some trouble with hearing. Around 2% have disabling hearing loss.
Some types of hearing loss occur at birth or during childhood. Others may occur later in life due to aging, disease, trauma, or damage to the ear. The NIDCD estimates that just under 29 million Americans could benefit from using hearing aids. So, every population group has people who should consider pursuing hearing loss treatment.
Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be described by its severity: mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe, or profound. Typically, the severity of hearing loss varies across pitches. Additionally, it can be described by the type of hearing loss:
- Conductive: This is when there is a problem in how sound is conducted by the inner ear or cochlea. It may happen due to ear infections, deterioration of the ear bones, fixation of those bones, blockage or damage, or absence of some ear structures.
- Sensorineural: This type of hearing loss is when the problem is with the sensory receptors that detect sound. It typically happens due to an abnormality or damage to the hair cells of the cochlea. This may be due to a congenital defect, damage, trauma, drugs, or noise exposure.
- Mixed: This is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. It may call for a more complex treatment approach.
- Neural: Some hearing loss happens due to damage, deterioration, or a defect of the auditory nerve. Genetics, tumors, and some other conditions, especially associated with newborns, can cause this.
Some hearing loss starts with being mild and gradually worsens. Other people may experience sudden hearing loss. Both situations can be very scary and frustrating. However, help is available.
Hearing Loss Treatment Options and Benefits
There are numerous ways to treat hearing loss. Your treatment plan will be based on the specifics of your hearing loss type and severity. For many people, the best treatment option is some type of hearing aid or implant. However, some hearing loss can be treated with medical management. Additionally, some hearing loss is temporary and may get better with time. For this to be the case, the problem usually needs to be identified and addressed early.
If you are experiencing some sort of hearing loss, don’t hesitate to tell your doctor or a hearing specialist. With testing, a treatment plan can be developed to either reverse or mitigate the impacts of hearing loss. However, timeliness can be very important, even if the hearing impairment seems minor.
Benefits of Seeking Treatment
Seeking help with your hearing loss is strongly advised. These are some of the advantages of hearing loss treatment:
- Physical: People with untreated hearing loss are more likely to experience falls or otherwise have accidents. Wearing hearing aids can help people with hearing loss enjoy safer, healthier, and more independent lifestyles.
- Mental: Hearing loss can have significant mental health impacts. It can cause feelings of isolation and other negative emotions. However, treating hearing loss can significantly improve these issues.
- Emotional: People with hearing loss are more likely to have a hard time connecting with others. They can feel less socially engaged, even with loved ones and close friends. Furthermore, they may miss out on significant moments due to being unable to hear. Wearing hearing aids or otherwise treating hearing loss can help people to enjoy more emotionally fulfilling lives.
Hearing Loss Prevention and Mitigation Tips
A large amount of hearing impairment is noise-induced hearing loss. Wearing protective gear when in noisy environments such as job sites can help significantly. Similarly, you should avoid listening to music at excessively loud or uncomfortable levels. If attending a situation with loud music, such as a live concert or performance, wear hearing protection. Special earplugs designed for musicians will let you hear the music clearly while protecting your ears.
If you notice any difficulty hearing or strange sounds, talk to a doctor. Early detection and treatment can greatly mitigate hearing loss.
Get Help Healing With Hearing Loss Treatment
If you are concerned about hearing loss, contact Memorial Hearing. We provide services to people with hearing loss and their families. Our goal is to make dealing with hearing loss easier, both logistically and emotionally.
Featured Image: Steph Photographies/Shutterstock