Latest posts by Paula Castanon (see all)
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Hearing loss is a distressing problem, especially if you have been able to hear well most of your life. Sometimes hearing loss even occurs in very young people, and that is particularly distressing to parents because they know that their children will have to adapt. Hearing loss in young adulthood is uncommon, but it does happen, usually as the result of an accident that damages the auditory nerves or part of the brain where auditory signals are received. While you cannot cure hearing loss, you can treat it. Here are the three most common types of hearing loss, and how a hearing health professional may treat them.
Congenital Hearing Loss
This is hearing loss that you are either born with, or you acquire shortly after birth and within the first few years of life. The causes may be genetic, bacterial, or some form of rare disorder. If the child does develop some language skills before the hearing is completely gone, it helps to teach sign language along with the verbal coaching before he/she can no longer hear. If the child cannot hear at birth, or loses his/her hearing within the first year, sign language and writing are the only forms of communication he/she may ever know.
To treat this type of hearing loss, the audiologist has to look at how the hearing loss occurred and whether or not it can be treated. In most cases it cannot. If there is irreversible damage to the auditory nerves, for example, nothing can be done. If the problem is with the child’s cochlea in the inner ears (also known as sensorineural hearing loss), but the nerves are fine, a cochlear implant is very possible. If the child can hear only muffled sounds, but can hear, hearing aids may restore some of the child’s hearing, unless the problem is conductive hearing loss. With conductive hearing loss, hearing aids can help, but only after any blockages in the canal have been removed, or an adaptive “ear” has been made to fit a missing ear.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Loud music concerts, repetitive and blaring noises in the city, etc., are all causes of noise-induced hearing loss. Frequently and intentionally exposing oneself to loud music and loud sounds destroys the cilia in the ear that help facilitate sound waves toward the auditory nerves, and eventually the auditory nerves themselves are damaged if the noise is loud enough and consistent over time. Between the ages of fifteen and forty is usually when this hearing loss is noted and occurs.
The first step is to reduce and, if possible, remove oneself from all loud noises and excessively loud music. Wearing protective ear plugs also helps, whether you listen to music or you have a very loud sort of job. To assist you with your hearing in quieter locales, inner ear hearing devices that cannot be seen might be the right product for you. Called “in the canal” or ITC hearing assistive technology aids, these tiny hearing devices are not noticeable by anyone around you, they will not squeal or ring, and they can be adjusted for sound quality and fit.
Age-Related Hearing Loss
Sadly, a large percentage of people will lose some of their hearing with age. Even if you take great care to prevent hearing loss early in life, you may still experience some hearing loss later in life. This occurs mainly because the body wears down, cells are not recovered or regrown, nerves deteriorate and are not replaced/replaceable, etc.
Hearing loss treatments for age-related hearing loss offer lots of options. If you have Medicare, your only affordable option may be the traditional hearing-assist aids that sit in the outer ear with the small part sitting inside the ear. These may or may not be covered in part or in whole by your Medicaid insurance, depending on your plan. These are often referred to as “over the ear” or “behind the ear” hearing aid devices because they contain a microphone component and small tube that runs from the ear canal over the ear and behind it. Otherwise the in-the-ear custom-molded hearing devices may be an option.
There are also the “invisible” hearing products, the in-the-canal hearing devices, and the tiniest of all hearing aids used for hearing loss treatment that go all the way inside and almost touch the ear drum. These are rarely, if ever, covered by Medicaid, since Medicaid insurance providers consider them a “cosmetic” option. If you are willing to pay out of pocket, you can try these instead.
Hearing Is Worth Everything
You should know that it is worth it to treat your untreated hearing loss. You miss a lot through untreated hearing loss, but you can regain so much of your life and your personal relationships with others will improve when your conductive hearing loss or sensorineural hearing loss are treated. You will feel more confident and less confused or embarrassed by what others are trying to say when you can hear them properly.
Visit us at All Ear Doctors today to learn more about hearing loss treatment.