Hearing loss, also called hearing impairment, refers to the partial or total inability to hear. This means deaf people may hear a little, but it is possible for them not to hear anything at all. It affects people, since in children it is a factor in learning a new language. In adults, hearing loss may cause difficulties at work. Meanwhile, hearing loss can lead to loneliness in older people.
Hearing loss has several probable causes, depending on the type of hearing loss. According to Hearing Loss, the types can be conductive hearing loss, which is primarily due to problems with the ear parts, or sensorineural hearing loss, which is due to problems in the inner ear and nerves that innervate the hearing function.
As per the publication, the causes include malformation of the ear structures, presence of fluids in the middle ear due to ear infection, colds, allergies, perforated eardrum, poor ear canal function, impacted earwax, benign tumors, presence of foreign bodies, and otosclerosis.
On the other hand, sensorineural hearing loss is caused by exposure to loud noise, head trauma, virus, autoimmune inner ear disease, familial hearing loss, aging, inner ear malformation, Meniere’s disease, otosclerosis, and tumors.
Signs and Symptoms
Hearing loss has several signs and symptoms. As per Mayo Clinic, these include muffling of speech and other sounds, difficulty understanding words, trouble hearing consonants, frequently asking others to speak more clearly, loudly, and slowly, needing to turn up the volume of the radio or television, withdrawal from conversations, and avoidance of some social settings.
Hearing loss and be managed with the following.
A hearing aid promotes the hearing function in people with hearing loss. In the UK, as per the NHS, the organization loans hearing aids to people with hearing loss and they can get it without spending associated fees. Also, the owners are free of charge when it comes to free repairs, batteries, and other hearing aid services. While both analog and digital forms can be used, the latter is more often used at present.
Communication is vital in people with hearing loss. According to Hearing Loss Association of America, the person should face the person with hearing loss directly and have his attention. If he still has problems hearing the sound, the person may increase visuals by using pen or paper or by doing gestures. The person should also speak clearly and at moderate pace, without over-emphasizing words. Shouting is not a help and clues can be given when changing subjects by saying “new subject.”
The hearing function should be assessed by a specialist, as per Web MD. According to the publication, this can be done when a person experiences ringing in his ears, difficulties hearing on the telephone, has trouble distinguishing conversations from background noise, asking family and friends to repeat themselves, and notices a difference between the left and the right ear.
Hearing loss may be less severe than other medical conditions like cancer. However, it affects both physiological and psychosocial aspects of a person. Thus, it is vital to seek medical consult with a health professional for assessment, planning, intervention, and health education.