A Hearing Aid Can Reverse Some Forms of Hearing Loss
We often associate hearing aids with the elderly, but hearing loss can occur at any age. Some forms of hearing loss can be treated with a hearing aid, while others require other types of medical intervention.
Conductive Hearing Loss
When sound has trouble traveling to the inner ear, it's called conductive hearing loss. This type can easily be corrected medically or with surgery. If not, a hearing aid will be very effective since the sound from the outer ear needs to be amplified in order to reach the inner ear.
Conductive hearing loss is most often caused by problems with the ear canal, the eardrum, the middle-ear cavity, the openings that lead to the inner ear, or the Eustachian tubes.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
The cochlea of the inner ear has close to 30,000 nerve endings, which are required for hearing a wide variety of sounds. Hearing loss due to damaging these nerve endings is irreversible in most cases. Doctors refer to this type as "nerve deafness' or "retrocochlear" hearing loss.
Central Hearing Loss
Interestingly enough central hearing loss does not actually stand for typical hearing loss, rather an auditory processing problem. Individuals with this issue have no problem with their hearing; in fact, their ears are working over time! They have a hard time filtering out background noise or concentrating on reading or their own conversation when others are talking around them, the radio is playing, or a movie's playing on the TV.
Currently there is no treatment for central hearing loss, and a hearing aid will only amplify the problem! The best way to deal with this auditory processing problem is to ensure the individual has a quiet place to study, read or carry on a conversation.
Functional Hearing Loss
When hearing "loss" is due to a psychological or emotional issue, it's referred to as functional hearing loss. An individual suffering from this hearing "loss" can actually hear perfectly, but they often fail to respond to the one who is talking to them - thus it appears that they cannot hear. In reality, no damage has been done to the hearing pathway; the individual's emotions and thoughts have trapped him, so he is often unable to respond in even the most simple of conversations.
Functional hearing loss can be incredibly hard to diagnose. When misdiagnosed the resulting treatment can actually aggravate the problem and cause the individual to become even more resistant to the right kind of treatment.
Mixed Hearing Loss
Many times, an individual will be diagnosed with more than one form of hearing loss. Typically the term "Mixed Hearing Loss" is used only when both conductive and sensorineural problems combine to cause significant loss. Since the conductive hearing loss is easiest to tree, this will be treated first, most likely with a hearing aid, and then the sensorineural loss will also be treated, if possible.
If you suspect any type of hearing loss, be sure to talk to your doctor. Many types of conductive hearing loss may be treatable, either through medicine or with the help of a hearing aid.
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