All About Hearing Loss
The process of hearing is very complicated. It involves the smallest bones in our body, sound vibrations being converted from acoustic to mechanical to electronic signals, and the brain processing and interpreting the signal to determine its meaning. Untreated hearing loss is linked to other conditions, such as dementia, depression, anxiety, and increased fall risk. However, the majority of people with hearing loss put off testing and treatment for many years.
Do not let hearing loss interfere with your life and health. Call 570.733.3112 today to schedule your appointment!
Causes of Hearing Loss
There are many many causes of hearing loss:
- Exposure to loud noises
- Health Conditions - Diabetes, Heart Disease,
- Ototoxic drugs
- Head Injury
- Genetic Conditions
- Acoustic Neuroma
- Meniere's Disease
Degrees & Types of Hearing Loss
Degree of Hearing Loss means the severity of the hearing loss:
Mild - Moderate - Severe - Profound
Type of Hearing Loss:
Sensorineural - is caused when tiny hairs in the cochlea are missing or damaged, the most common treatment is to be fit with hearing aids.
Conductive - usually a temporary hearing loss that can be fixed with medication, a short procedure, or depending on the condition may require surgery.
Mixed - is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss that is usually treated with hearing aids alone, but occasionally in conjunction with medication, a short procedure or with surgery.
To determine the degree and type of hearing loss someone has a hearing evaluation must be completed.
How Hearing Works
Our ears and brain work together to make it possible for us to hear. Hearing begins when sound waves enter the outer ear and are channeled down the auditory canal, a tunnel-like passageway lined with tiny hairs and small glands that produce earwax.
At the end of your auditory canal is the eardrum, which is the beginning of the middle ear. The middle ear is also made up of three small bones, often referred to as the hammer, the anvil and the stirrup. These small bones are the link between the eardrum and the inner ear.
When sound waves hit your eardrum, it vibrates. These vibrations move the bone shaped like a hammer. The hammer then moves the anvil, which moves the stirrup, transmitting the vibrations into your inner ear. The middle ear functions to amplify sound.
The inner ear consists of the cochlea and the auditory nerve. It converts sound waves into nerve impulses that travel to the brain via the movement of tiny hair cells. Then the brain processes and interprets the sound.
Cells can be damaged by use of noise exposure, ototoxic drugs, disease and aging. And once these hair cells are gone, they are gone, at least until researchers discover a way to regenerate them. For now hearing aids can be used to compensate.