HEARING LOSSES

Hearing loss which may be congenital or acquired may significantly affect quality of life including social life. However, it is usually ignored at the beginning; however, individuals refer to the physician when hearing loss progresses; this affects the therapy process negatively.

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HEARING LOSS IS CLASSIFIED IN THREE TYPES DEPENDING ON THE PATHOLOGY LOCATION

  • Conductive type hearing loss (usually depending on the diseases related to external ear and middle ear diseases),
  • Sensorineural hearing loss (depending on the diseases of inner ear, auditory nerve and brain),
  • Mixed hearing loss (depending on the disease existing in multiple zones of the ear tract).

HEARING LOSS GRADING

0- 25 dB HL     –     Normal hearing

26 – 40 dB HL   –     Very slight hearing loss

41 – 55 dB HL   –     Slight hearing loss

56 – 70 dB HL   –     Moderate hearing loss

71 – 90 dB HL   –     Advanced hearing loss

91 –  +dB HL   –     Very advanced hearing loss

SYMPTOMS OF HEARING LOSS

  • Difficulty to perceive speaking voice and other sounds.
  • Tinnitus (continuous hearing of ringing, whirring or similar noises)
  • Inability to perceive backspace voices and to perceive the words in noisy and crowded environments
  • Difficulty to hear the other person during a phone call
  • Asking the other individual to speak slow, clearly and with a higher voice
  • Difficulty to hear the voices such as bird sound in the nature
  • Increasing the voice of television or radio
  • Avoiding to speak since hearing is difficult

CAUSES OF HEARING LOSS

The causes of hearing loss may be classified as follows:

CAUSES RELATED TO EXTERNAL EAR

  1. An obstructive ear wax
  2. Ear cleaning with a foreign body (including cotton swab)
  3. Aural atresia (congenital impairment of external ear tract)
  4. Inflammations of external ear tract
  5. Tumours of external ear tract
  6. Agenesia or congenital deformation of the auricle

CAUSES RELATED TO MIDDLE EAR

  1. Rupture of the eardrum
  2. Tubal dysfunction (ear-nasal cavity problems)
  3. Fluid accumulation behind the eardrum
  4. Middle ear inflammations
  5. Ear calcifications in form of autosclerosis or tympanosclerosis
  6. Trauma (fractures of the skull bones etc.)
  7. Cholesteatoma,
  8. Middle ear tumours
  9. Metabolic and systemic diseases
  10. Genetic diseases

CAUSES RELATED TO INNER EAR AND AUDITORY NERVE

  1. Inner ear inflammation
  2. Infections (mumps etc.)
  3. Ear and head trauma
  4. Acoustic trauma (exposure to loud noise)
  5. Substances and drugs which may damage the inner ear (chemotherapy drugs etc.)
  6. Suddenly developed hearing loss
  7. Presbyacusis (loss due to ageing)
  8. Meniere disease
  9. Tumours of auditory nerve
  10. Systemic diseases (diabetes, thyroid etc.)
  11. certain diseases of the mother during pregnancy
  12. certain drugs used during pregnancy
  13. Premature delivery, asphyxiation during delivery etc.
  14. High bilirubin levels in the newborn
  15. Genetic Factors

DIAGNOSIS OF THE HEARING LOSS

A detailed physical exam is performed. If exam is normal, some tests including audiometry (hearing measurement) and tympanometry are performed. Computed tomography (CT) or MRI may be required.

TREATMENT OF HEARING LOSS

Treatment varies according to the source of the problem and the severity of the condition. Treatment methods varying from a simple option such as removal of earwax, the use of hearing aids, cochlearimplant, active middle ear implant, bone-mounted implant to surgical intervention may be implemented.

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