Hearing Loss - Is it Unavoidable?
Our ears have these two main functions; allowing us to both hear and maintain our balance.
However, the hearing function of our ears become worn out and less effective as we
age. In fact, one of three adults over the age of 65 has a hearing loss and half of seniors over the age of
75 have a hearing loss.
Such loss is commonly due to over-exposure to noise, heredity or both.
The signs of hearing loss are normally relatively easy to detect:
1) If you notice everyone sounds muffled.
2) It is difficult to understand words.
3) You request others to speak more slowly, clearly or loudly.
4) You often need to turn up the volume on your TV or radio.
5) You notice that your understanding of words is better if you can see the speaker's lips
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.
Ok - I have to insert a joke here.
Joe goes to his doctor. "Doc" he says, "I think my wife is going deaf. What should I do to convince
her to come see you for help."
Doc says " Stand in another room and say something to her. If she does not respond, move closer and closer
until she does and then explain you have been talking for some time."
Joe goes home. He stands in the living room and says " Mary, what's for supper?"
No response, so he moves a little closer and repeats the question. No response, so he moves to the dining room
and repeats the question. Still no response.
Shaking his head sadly, Joe moves to the kitchen door and repeats the question. This time Mary
"Meatloaf, the same thing I answered every time you asked me.!
Most hearing loss results from damage to the cochlea
The Cochlea is a coiled structure in the inner ear responsible for hearing. This loss is usually a result
of prolonged exposure to loud noises of 85 decibel or higher. A decibel is the unit used to measure degrees of
loudness and is often abbreviated to dB.
Other common causes of hearing loss are:
1) Ear infections.
2) Abnormal bone growths.
3) Tumors of the outer or middle ear.
4) Ruptured ear drums. (Never stick anything in your ear smaller than your finger tip.)
Other non-age related causes for deafness include Auditory Neuropathy, Meniere's Disease, Noise Ostosclerosis and
There are three basic types of hearing loss:
Type # 1 - Conductive Hearing Loss
This occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently to the middle ear, which may be caused by fluid, earwax,
infection, foreign matter or malformation of the middle or outer ear.
Type # 2 - Sensorineural Hearing Loss
This condition occurs when there is damage to the inner ear ( cochlea ) or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear
to the brain. Disease, birth injury, drugs or genetic syndromes can also be causes of Sensorineural hearing loss.
Additional causes may include noise exposure, viruses, head trauma, aging and tumors.
A person suffering from this type of hearing loss may exhibit a lack of speech comprehension.
Type # 3 - Mixed Hearing Loss
Sometimes a person may suffer from conductive hearing loss combined with a Sensorineural hearing loss. This type of
hearing loss is known as mixed hearing loss.
A person can have a loss of hearing in one ear or in both ears. The degree of the severity of hearing loss in each
ear may be equal or disparate. Loss of hearing can either occur suddenly or slowly over a long period of time.
The slow loss of hearing is the most difficult because it is hard to recognize and usually requires that someone
else point out the problem.
Some people suffer from hearing losses that fluctuate and their condition may worsen or improve erratically. This
is usually caused by an ear infection causing conductive hearing loss.
If you suspect you have a hearing problem, you should consult your health specialist to get a professional
diagnosis and appropriate treatment for your condition. Do not put off seeing your doctor because you fear having
to wear a hearing aid. You might be surprised by how much hearing power you regain just by having your ears
I wonder, should we have our ears cleaned as routinely as we have our teeth cleaned. Might just be the
preventive measure we all need to retain our hearing as well as our teeth.
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