Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hearing Loss

           Hearing loss can be defined as the absence of sound, or the gradual decrease of how well the person can hear. It can be permanent, temporary, mild or severe. There could be hearing loss in one ear or in both ears. Having hearing loss affects almost every part of the person’s life because it makes it difficult to understand other people or situations. It is possible to be born with hearing loss, which is also known as congenital hearing loss, or it can be gradual. It is possible to not even realize you are going deaf until someone acknowledges it.

            The most common causes of hearing loss are noise and age. Loud everyday noises can cause damage to the structures of the inner ear. Loud noises such as loud music, loud motorcycle, or a lawn mower can all cause hearing loss over time. Certain jobs might make the person more prone to hearing loss due to certain machines used or areas where the person works. People who work in airports or construction areas are more likely to be affected by hearing loss due to their profession. In age-related hearing loss, the changes in the inner ear cause the slow but gradual hearing loss. It is also possible that a build-up of ear wax can affect the middle or inner ear.

            There are many symptoms of hearing loss, and some may even be pointed out by other people. It could feel as though the person’s ear is plugged due to the muffled hearing. It may cause the person to have trouble understanding what other people are saying, especially when the radio is on or when other people are talking. There could be a ringing or hissing in the ear, or a feeling that surroundings are spinning. To determine if there is hearing loss, a doctor will do a series of tests. They could do a “whisper” test which tests how well you hear whispered speech, or they could do a “tuning fork” test which helps determine what type of hearing loss you might have. To treat hearing loss, a hearing aid can be used, or if hearing aids do not work, then cochlear implants may be an option. Also, if they do not work, then the person can pay more attention to people’s gestures and facial expressions.

            The best way to prevent hearing loss is to avoid loud noises when possible. This means turning down the volume on anything that can be listened to. Also, it would be of interest to wear earplugs or earmuffs in case it is impossible to avoid loud noise situations. Another way to prevent hearing loss could be to avoid putting objects in the ear and blowing your nose gently and through both nostrils. Hearing loss is the absence of sound through one ear or in both ears do to damage to the inner ear or because the person is born with hearing loss.

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