Hearing loss can afflict anyone. The main losses seen in the country today are age-related loss due to deterioration of the organs of the ear. However, there are many reasons for hearing loss.
Consumer’s Guide to Hearing Aids
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Frequently Asked Questions
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How Hearing Works
The ear has three basic parts: the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. Sound is captured by the outer ear, or pinna, and sent to the eardrum at the middle ear entrance. The middle ear has three small bones and two openings, called windows, that send sound into the inner ear.
The inner ear contains the cochlea and vestibular organs, or balance organs. The cochlea changes vibrational sound into electrical impulses that move to the brain through the auditory nerve.
Degrees of Hearing Loss
Illnesses and diseases, exposure to concussive sound like an explosion or injury to the head can all affect hearing. Some damage is permanent, and some is temporary, but nearly all hearing problems have a solution.
In the ear, three areas work together to send sound to the brain: the middle ear, inner ear and auditory nerve. Damage to any or all will cause loss of hearing. Tiny hairs in the middle ear that send sound waves to the cochlea in the inner ear can be damaged. An injury to the auditory nerve of the brain can also affect hearing.
The clinical types of hearing loss are conductive, sensorineural, mixed and processing. Conductive means that sound is not passing correctly through the ear. Sensorineural means the structures that interpret the sound are not working, while mixed is a combination of these. Processing hearing loss is a problem with the brain and/or auditory nerve.
Hearing and Balance
Semicircular canals in the inner ear regulate balance. Disorders of the ear that affect these canals will affect your balance. One common condition – benign paroxysmal positional vertigo – is caused by particles in these canals moving to give the sensation of falling or dizziness. There are exercises to relieve the condition but no cure as such.
Impacts of Untreated Hearing Loss
The sooner you have your hearing checked with At Home Hearing Healthcare, the better your chances will be of solving the problem completely. Waiting will not help and will generally find the condition worsening. While there are some minor injuries that affect hearing, but which heal on their own, waiting is never recommended.
Not checking your hearing loss can lead to disability. People can become isolated and depressed due to their inability to talk with people. Never be embarrassed or intimidated by your hearing loss.
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Musicians’ Hearing Loss and Prevention
If you play music in any venue, chances are you are exposed to noise that is damaging to your hearing. Musicians need to hear the music clearly, getting every note. There are specific hearing protection devices for musicians that allow this to happen. Musicians earphones and earplugs are designed to allow music frequencies through to the eardrum while blocking very loud and percussive noise.
Tinnitus is also known as ringing in the ears, or the sensation of sound when there is no sound wave. The perception is due to the degradation of ear organs like the tiny hairs that transmit sound to the brain. The auditory nerve gest incorrect signals, and the brain “hears” that as sound. It is often described as a whooshing, whistling or rushing water sound.
There are therapies for tinnitus but no official cure. Tinnitus is often accompanied by hearing loss and can possibly be treated with a hearing aid specifically designed to mask the condition. Some people have psychotherapy to help deal with tinnitus, and others find that they can relegate the noise to the background with some coaching help.
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