Home Articles Hearing Loss – Causes, Risk Factors, Management

Hearing Loss – Causes, Risk Factors, Management

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Sudden hearing loss has many causes. The deafness may be in one ear or be bilateral. Currently, medicine has many diagnostic and therapeutic methods. Hearing loss can vary in degrees, but even in the case of complete deafness, there are ways to improve a patient’s quality of life.

What contributes to hearing loss?

Hearing loss occurs when nerve impulses are not rubbed into the brain because the hearing organ does not process sounds. An ear attack can result from an ear injury, a head injury, or various medical conditions.

According to the results of research by the CDC, the National Institute of Health, the World Health Organization, the Hearing Health Foundation, and other organizations, statistics clearly show that as much as 5% of the world’s population suffers from hearing loss, this translates into as many as 430 million people. The forecasts are not optimistic because this number is to increase by 2050 to even 700 million.

It follows that every 10th person will have a hearing impairment. The highest percentage of people with hearing loss is seniors. People aged 65 to 74 mainly struggle with deafness. Of course, young people, including children and adolescents, also have hearing loss, but this is mainly due to listening to music that is too loud. According to statistics, the incidence of hearing loss increases with age.

Hearing loss can be conductive and is often caused by obstruction of the external auditory canal. The source of the problem is often a wax plug, other times a foreign body. Swimmer’s ear also causes deafness, much less often it results from a tumor. The causes of hearing loss are also acute otitis media, exudative otitis media, chronic otitis media, ear trauma, otosclerosis, and benign or malignant neoplastic changes. Deafness can also be sensory.

It may involve the inner ear. Most often, it is caused by genetic diseases, exposure to loud noises, senile hearing impairment, infection, autoimmune diseases, pressure trauma, and head trauma. Deafness can also be nephrogenic, caused by tumors of the cerebellopontine angle and demyelinating conditions. Sudden hearing loss is very often caused by a viral infection, autoimmune disorders, or acute obstruction of the small vessels of the inner ear.

What are the methods of hearing testing?

Currently, many tests are available for deafness and hearing loss. Physical examination, tuning fork test, tonal audiometry, tympanometry, otoacoustic emissions, and recording of the auditory brainstem evoked potentials are performed. Hearing tests are divided into subjective, and in their case, the results can be obtained without the participation of the subject (reed tests, tonal audiometry, speech audiometry) and objective, i.e. requiring the patient’s cooperation (impedance audiometry, otoacoustic emission, BERA).

What to do in case of hearing loss? What is the treatment?

In the case of sudden hearing loss, the most important thing is to immediately visit a specialist to carry out appropriate tests and assess the hearing organ. Only after finding the problem’s source can you take proper steps to eliminate it and counteract the progress of pathological changes. Of course, sudden deafness does not threaten health and life, but you should not delay seeing a doctor. The best solution is to go to an ENT specialist. However, it is worth bearing in mind that in many cases, hearing returns automatically within a day or two. The sooner the diagnosis is made and the therapy is implemented, the greater the chances of success. Hearing loss does not have to mean permanent deafness. 

Many factors can lead to hearing loss, and only a specialist can find the source of the problem, so you should see it for an in-depth diagnosis. The laryngologist will perform a hearing test and other necessary tests that will allow you to make a diagnosis and choose the appropriate treatment method. The sooner action is taken, the better.

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