What is Hearing Loss?
What is Hearing Loss? Hearing loss is one of the health problems commonly caused by age factor or because of frequent exposure to loud sounds. Hearing can be said to be disturbed if the voice signal fails to reach the brain.
Hearing process occurs when the eardrum vibrates due to sound waves entering the ear canal. The vibrations are then continued into the middle ear through three auditory bones known as osicles (consisting of malleus, incus, stapes). The oscillates will amplify the vibration to proceed towards the fine hairs inside the cochlea, where the cochlea ends up sending signals through the auditory nerve to the brain.
Usually, hearing loss develops gradually, but loss of hearing can appear suddenly. Voices that have a noise level of up to 79 decibels can still be categorized as safe for the human ear.
According to WHO, until 2015, about 360 million people around the world suffer from hearing loss. Meanwhile, there are about 1.1 billion people in the world at risk of suffering from hearing loss due to the use of a hearing impaired music player.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
Some of the earliest signs and symptoms of hearing loss are:
- Ask others to repeat what they say.
- Always tired or stressed, having to concentrate while listening.
- Withdraw from the conversation.
- Difficulty hearing the phone ring or doorbell.
- Avoid some social situations.
- The difficulty of hearing other people’s speech clearly, especially when discussing with many people or in crowds.
- Difficulty listening to consonants
- Listening to music or watching television with louder volume than others.
- Difficulty determining the direction of the sound source.
The symptoms of hearing loss in infants and children differ slightly from that of adults. Some of the symptoms of hearing loss in infants and children are:
- Not surprised when heard loud voice.
- For babies under 4 months, do not turn towards the sound source.
- Can not mention a word at the age of one year.
- Realize the presence of someone when he sees it, but is indifferent when called his name.
- Slow when learning to speak or not clear when talking.
- Answering does not match the question.
- Often speaking loudly or adjusting the TV volume aloud.
- Paying attention to others to imitate something ordered, because he did not hear anything instructed.
Immediately consult a doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms.
Causes of Hearing Loss
The two main causes of hearing loss are age and loud noise. Most people start to get a little annoyed when they reach the age of 40 years. Age-related hearing loss is also known as presbicusis.
While exposure to loud voice repeatedly able to damage the sense of hearing. A loud sound like a blast can make a sudden hearing loss, usually a condition known as acoustic trauma.
If distinguished from the affected ear, there are two types of hearing loss: sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss.
hearing loss is caused by damage to sensitive hair cells present in the inner ear or damage to the auditory nerve. Some of the causes of sensorineural hearing loss are:
- Meniere disease, acoustic neuroma, meningitis, encephalitis, or multiple sclerosis.
- Hereditary factors.
- Head injury.
- Stroke attack.
- Condition of autoimmunity.
- Ear abnormalities.
- Certain antibiotic medications.
- Radiotherapy for nasal cancer.
- Viral infection in the inner ear or in the auditory nerve.
While conductive hearing loss usually occurs when sound waves can not enter the inner ear. The following are the causes of conductive hearing loss:
- The eardrum is ruptured or perforated.
- Swelling of the wall or dysfunction of the tube or eustachian tube.
- Damage to hearing loss due to trauma.
- Ear abnormalities.
- The entry of foreign objects into the ear.
Diagnosis of Hearing Loss
Diagnosis is a doctor’s step to identify a disease or condition that explains the symptoms and signs experienced by the patient. To diagnose hearing loss, your doctor will do the following:
- Physical examination. Your doctor will check your ear to look for the cause of the disorder, such as earwax, infection, or damage to the eardrum.
- Test fork tuning. In addition to detecting hearing loss, a tuning fork test can also determine which parts of the ear are damaged.
- Pure tone audiometry test. In this test, a machine will produce sound with varying volume and frequency that will be heard by patient through headphone.
From some of these examinations, the doctor will know the degree of deafness experienced by the patient. There are four levels of deafness are:
- Light deafness. Usually people have difficulty listening to someone talking, especially in a noisy environment.
- Deaf is being. Patients difficulty listening to someone talking without using hearing aids.
- Deaf heavily. Most people with severe deafness need to read lips or sign language to understand a person’s conversation, even when he or she uses hearing aids.
- Deaf is very heavy. Very severe deaf people should be able to communicate by reading lips and sign language.
Hearing Loss Treatment
The mode of treatment depends on the cause and severity of the hearing loss. However, usually people with hearing loss are treated with the following actions and aids:
- Cochlear implants, are hearing aids that are planted under the skin behind the patient’s ears.
- Cleans dirt that clogs the ear.
- Auditory Brainstem Implant. A hearing aid that converts the sound it captures into an electrical signal and transmits it to the patient’s brain.
- Hearing aids, can help the patient by making the voice becomes stronger and easier to hear the patient.
- Surgery. This step may be done if the patient has an ear injury or recurrent infection.
- Learn sign language and read lips. Patients with severe hearing loss will be encouraged to learn to understand sign language and read lips to facilitate communication with others.
Prevention of Hearing Loss
There are several things you can do to reduce the risk of hearing loss are:
- Do not put objects in children’s ears including fingers, earplugs (cotton bud), cotton, and tissues.
- Periodically test your hearing if you are frequently exposed to a loud voice at work.
- Avoid activities that are at risk of injuring the sense of hearing such as hunting with a rifle, listening to music
- Protect your ears while in a noisy environment.
- Use headphones that can withstand the entry of outside sound, so the volume does not need to be too big.
- Immediately see a doctor if you have symptoms of ear infections or meniere disease (ringing ears) to prevent the disease from developing into hearing loss.