Hearing loss is defined as an auditory disability; that is, the inability to listen correctly. Thus, to listen correctly implies that the organism carries out a series of steps. First, the sound enters through the external auditory canal, strikes the eardrum and makes it vibrate. This vibration moves to a chain of tiny bones that stimulate the cochlea. Inside the cochlea, there are cells that transform this vibratory information into energy. This energy is transferred in the form of a nerve impulse through the auditory nerve to the brainstem. From there, the nerve impulse reaches the cerebral cortex. Only at that moment, we are aware of the sound. Depending on the stage of the process that fails, so will hearing loss occur. Let’s see, then, its different types, as well as treatment of hearing loss.
Types of Hearing Loss
There are two fundamental types of hearing loss: the conductive and the neurosensory. It will be conductive when the outer and middle ear (mainly, eardrums and ossicles) are not intact. In the neurosensory type, the cochlea, the acoustic nerve, the brainstem or the cerebral cortex may be damaged.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
The detection of this disease is usually late. This is due to the development of compensatory strategies by the organism. There is a wide spectrum of alterations related to hearing loss. Its main symptom is hearing loss. In general, low-intensity sounds are less distinguishable in driving hyperacusis. However, in the neurosensory, it is difficult to distinguish sounds, although it is possible to hear their intensity.
It usually happens that hearing sounds are heard worse in hearing loss. Because of this, there are fewer problems when it comes to hearing male than female voices. In addition, people who suffer from it have difficulty hearing when there are noises in the environment. Even, certain sounds can be perceived stronger than they really are.
Depending on the cause that generates it, there are some other symptoms that usually accompany deafness. Among the most common, are the earache or the sensation of atrial fullness if the cause is otitis. If the organ receiving the balance in the ear is damaged, vertigo and dizziness could also occur.
Acute hearing loss without effective treatment will lead to communication difficulties. To designate this phenomenon, the term Socioacusia was coined. This can lead to psychological and emotional consequences, such as depression.
Treatment of Hearing Loss
For the treatment of hearing loss, it is essential to establish its cause. Thus, depending on the type of hearing loss that is, one treatment or another will be carried out.
Treatment of Driving Hearing Loss
When it is caused by a wax stopper, it will be extracted. If the cause is damage to the ossicles chain, they could be repaired or replaced. If the problem is otitis, antibiotics will be given. In case there is a remnant of fluid from an infection, it will drain. In cases of the damaged eardrum, either by perforation or scarring as a result of repeated infections, it could be repaired or replaced.
Treatment of Sensorineural Hearing Loss
In these cases, the causes are usually not reversible. Therefore, it is usually necessary to implant a prosthesis that performs this neurosensory function. There are therapeutic options for implantable and non-implantable prosthetic treatments. Non-implantable prosthetic hearing loss treatments are hearing aids. They modify the sound in one way or another depending on the hearing needs of each patient.
Implantable Prosthetic Treatments are Basically of Two Types:
- Cochlear implants, which replace the function of the organ of Corti.
- Auditory brainstem implants. They directly stimulate this area without the sound having to pass through the inner ear or through the auditory nerve.
To conclude, it is worth remembering that only a professional with the training for this is the one who must decide the most appropriate therapeutic option for treatment of hearing loss.