Hearing loss, or deafness, can be present at birth (congenital), or become evident later in life (acquired). The distinction between acquired and congenital deafness specifies only the time that the deafness appears.
Where congenital deafness is genetic, acquired deafness may be due to damage to the ear because of noise or from other conditions.
The knowledge and early detection of these diseases makes it possible to greatly reduce the consequences. Any disease of the ear can cause a decrease in the more or less important hearing. In case of deafness, it is imperative to consult a specialist to try to look and understand its origin. Clinical examination of the ear is not enough; it must be accompanied by a hearing test. Simple screening tests are not sensitive enough to discover a beginner deafness.
Hearing loss is not just a physical problem, it is often a problem of psychic: it wants to hide his deafness for fear of receiving comments and remarks of the entourage. But in trying to hide the problem to others, the individual will avoid social gatherings, watching television alone and end up isolated. The first treatment of deafness is hearing aid.
Types of hearing loss
There are three types of hearing loss:
– Conductive hearing loss
It is due to a defect in the system which transmits sound, that is to say, in the outer ear. It is manifested by a decrease of hearing by air and kept a hearing by bone conduction. The space between the air and bone curve is called the transmission gap. In most cases, the hearing loss may be treated surgically or by reconstruction of the transmission system, or by the break of a bone anchored hearing implant.
– Sensorineural hearing loss
It concerns the part that receives the sound and sends it to the brain, that is to say, the inner ear and auditory nerve pathways. It is manifested by a decrease in hearing at the air and bone conduction. The tone audiometry showed a decrease in joint air and bone curves. The perception deafness is treated surgically but can not make use of hearing implants, including cochlear implants for profound deafness.
– Mixed hearing loss
Finally mixed hearing loss, when both the above systems are affected. This means that there may be damage in the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve.
Treatment of deafness:
Treatments of Conductive Hearing Loss:
Conductive hearing loss can be corrected surgically. If these are not amenable to successful surgical correction, then the hearing alternatively may be improved with amplification with a bone conduction hearing aid, or a surgically implanted, osseointegrated device (for example, the Baha or Ponto System), or a conventional hearing aid, depending on the status of the hearing nerve.
Other causes of conductive hearing loss are: infection; tumors; middle ear fluid from infection or Eustachian tube dysfunction; foreign body; and trauma (as in a skull fracture). Acute infections are usually treated with antibiotic or antifungal medications. Chronic ear infections, chronic middle fluid, and tumors usually require surgery. If there is no response to initial medical therapy, infectious middle ear fluid is usually treated with antibiotics — while chronic non-infectious middle ear fluid is treated with surgery (or pressure equalizing tubes).
Treatment of Sensorineural Hearing Loss
• Sensorineural hearing loss resulting from acoustic trauma (or exposure to excessively loud noise), may respond to medical therapy with corticosteroids to reduce cochlea hair cell swelling and inflammation to improve healing of these injured inner ear structures.
• Sensorineural hearing loss which has occurred from head trauma or abrupt changes in air pressure such as in airplane descent, can cause inner ear fluid compartment rupture or leakage, which can be toxic to the inner ear. There has been variable success with emergency surgery when this happens.
• Sudden sensorineural hearing loss, presumed to be of viral origin, is an otologic emergency that is medically treated with corticosteroids.
• Sensorineural hearing loss from tumors of the balance nerve adjacent to the hearing nerve, generally are not reversed with surgical removal or irradiation of these benign tumors. If the hearing loss is mild and the tumors are very small, hearing may be saved in 50 percent of those undergoing hearing preservation surgery for tumor removal.
Treatments for Mixed Hearing Loss
Addition of the conductive component made the person a better hearing aid candidate, by flattening out the audiogram for example, while the underlying sensorineural component presented a high-frequency loss. However, still the emphasis would be on treating medically whatever can be treated.
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