Help! Is There A Cure For Deafness?

Help! Is There A Cure For Deafness?

It’s the holidays and everyone in the family is gathered together. Everyone is laughing and having a good time. It’s a great day.

Except, when you notice that while everyone is having their own conversations, someone seems to be left out or they are asking people to repeat themselves or speak louder.

Conversation Of Deaf People

This isn’t a unique situation. 35 million families around the country have someone in their life who is suffering from hearing loss.

For some, it isn’t severe enough to warrant a hearing aid. However, there are others where even with the use of a hearing aid, they still have some trouble.

What Is Hearing Loss?

Defining hearing loss is more than just saying either you’re deaf or you’re not. There are four classifications for hearing loss:

  • Mild Hearing Loss – People who suffer from mild hearing loss find it difficult to hear quieter sounds, sounds lower than 25 to 40 dBThis means these individuals find it challenging to keep up with conversation, especially in a crowded room or where there is a lot of background noise
  • Moderate Hearing Loss – Those who suffer from moderate hearing loss can have a difficult time hearing anything that is lower than 40 to 70 dB. These people tend to need a hearing aid to be able to keep up with a conversation
  • Severe Hearing Loss – People with severe hearing loss have a hard time hearing sounds that are below 70 to 95 dB. These people will benefit greatly from using a high-powered hearing aid. With that said, sometimes these people will use lip-reading or sign language in conjunction with their hearing aids to communicate
  • Profound Hearing Loss – Those who experience profound hearing loss cannot hear anything below 95 dB. This means that they are very hard of hearing and will use lip-reading and/or sign language to communicate with others

What Causes Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss doesn’t happen overnight, although there are some instances where this has happened. To understand how hearing loss happens and how it can be treated, you first must understand the three types of hearing loss:

Illustration Of Ear

Conductive Hearing Loss

It is the result of problems with the ear canal, ear drum, or the middle ear and the tiny bones (malleus, incus, and stapes) inside.

  • Malformation of outer ear, ear canal, or middle ear structure
  • Fluid in the middle ear from colds
  • Otitis media (an infection of the middle ear in which an accumulation of fluid may interfere with the movement of the eardrum and ossicles)
  • Allergies
  • Poor Eustachian tube function
  • Perforated eardrum
  • Benign tumors
  • Impacted earwax
  • Infection in the ear canal
  • Foreign object in the ear
  • Otosclerosis (a hereditary disorder where a bony growth forms around the small bone in the middle ear, which prevents the bone from vibrating when stimulated by sound)

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

It is the result of problems of the inner ear. This kind of hearing loss is also known as nerve-related hearing loss.

  • Exposure to loud noise (preventable but not reversible)
  • Aging (presbycusis)
  • Head trauma
  • Virus or disease
  • Autoimmune inner ear disease
  • Heredity
  • Malformation of the inner ear
  • Ménière’s disease (a disorder in the inner ear that causes vertigo, ringing in the ear, hearing loss, and congestion of the ear)
  • Otosclerosis
  • Tumors
  • Otosclerosis (a hereditary disorder where a bony growth forms around the small bone in the middle ear, which prevents the bone from vibrating when stimulated by sound)

Mixed Hearing Loss

It is the result of a combination of the other two.

Treatments Of Conductive Hearing Loss

Surgery can be used to fix conductive hearing loss as long as it is the result the lack of an ear canal or if the ear canal wasn’t opened at birth. Surgery can also be used if there is an absence, malformation, or dysfunction to the structures in the middle ear and otosclerosis.

Hearing Loss Surgery

Some people can benefit from a bone-conduction hearing aid or one that is surgically implanted. Of course, the traditional hearing aid will also work. If your hearing loss is a result of an ear infection, antibiotics and/or antifungal medication can help treat chronic ear infections.

If there’s a tumor in the ear canal, surgery must be performed.

Treatments Of Sensorineural Hearing Loss

If you suffer from sensorineural hearing loss, unfortunately you won’t be able to regain your hearing. But, it is important to note that there are sensorineural hearing aids that you can use to help. There also have been a few instances where surgery was used to partially treat the condition.

Treatments For Mixed Hearing Loss

Finding treatment for those with mixed hearing loss can sometimes be corrected with medical or surgical intervention and the use of hearing aids. Sometimes, implants or a special type of hearing aid can be used to help treatment.

What Does The Future Hold For Curing Deafness?

In a perfect world, there would be a cure for hearing loss already on the market. Right now, there are some major obstacles that are holding up the process of curing deafness.

One of those road blocks is figuring out how to regenerate hair cells to connect to the cochlear nerve fibers in the inner ear in a way that doesn’t cause any unwanted responses in the other types of cells in the ear.

In short, researchers are trying to figure a cure for deafness that doesn’t result in tumors.

Fortunately, there is a lot of promise in the prevention of deafness. Researchers have discovered that antioxidants and other inhibitors can prevent hearing loss due to loud noises. Unfortunately, at the current stage, those supplements need to be administered right after the subject is exposed to that loud noise.

Final Thoughts

Living with hearing loss and deafness is something that millions of people around the world suffer from. Researchers are searching for a way to treat hearing loss sufferers, but an actual cure that’ll eliminate hereditary hearing loss is still a long way off.

Putting Hearing Aid In Ear

Thankfully, research and medical professionals continue to make hearing aids more discreet and even more powerful so that almost anyone who suffers from certain degrees of hearing loss can finally hear something.

Leave us a comment below and tell us if you or someone you know suffers from hearing loss. Tell us what struggles you face when communicating with others. We want to hear from you (no pun intended)!

Resources:
MayoClinic
Ncbi

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