Most of us do not even realize how blessed we are for being able to hear. We commonly neglect this gift which gives our existence a brand new, colorful palette. Hearing allows us to communicate and enjoy numerous sounds from our environment. Also, it grants us music which we can enjoy, feel and relish.
However, not all of us are that lucky, since there are numerous individuals who have either lost their sense of hearing due to various reasons or have been born without it. Our ear is a very delicate organ and it can easily get damaged. When this happens, there are greater chances that our hearing will become impaired, either temporarily or permanently. This can severely affect our everyday functioning and lead to a plethora of difficulties.
Understanding hearing loss and deafness itself can help us realize how hearing is important to us and open new horizons towards accepting and comprehending those who do not share this remarkable gift.
Reasons behind Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can take place due to numerous different causes. Mainly, two major types of hearing loss exist, conductive and sensorineural. The former takes place due to an obstruction in the ear, preventing sounds from passing and entering the inner part of this organ. This can take place due to excessive earwax, tumors, perforated eardrum or the presence of some foreign body inside the ear. Direct injuries can trigger conductive hearing loss as well.
As for sensorineural hearing loss, it is a more complex condition resulting from nerve damage in the cochlea, the part of our ear which senses sound waves. This may stem from prolonged exposure to loud noise, head trauma, ear squeeze, antibiotics, diuretics, anti-inflammatory medications or certain diseases such as diabetes, sickle cell disease, Meniere's disease etc. Furthermore, infections such as measles, herpes simplex, meningitis, mumps or syphilis, along with mononucleosis and flu, all may result in this type of hearing loss too.
Adults usually lose their hearing due to infections or mere “wear and tear” effect of aging. Children, on the other hand, suffer from this condition due to genetic factors, maternal diabetes, premature birth, intrauterine infections, blood complications, pregnancy toxemia, lack of oxygen or otitis media.
Symptoms, Problems, Treatment
Hearing loss manifests through a gradual or complete loss of ability to perceive certain frequencies of sounds. Communication difficulties may strike first, possibly followed by vertigo, pain in the ear or the appearance of some other, underlying conditions.
Once you seek medical assistance, your doctor will examine you and, depending on the characteristics of your hearing loss, remove the obstruction from the ear, prescribe antibiotics or treat underlying diseases adequately.