About Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a very common problem of the generation and is in many cases almost inevitable in adulthood. Today, about 466 million people worldwide are having a disabling hearing loss - that makes up about 5% of the world’s population - out of which 432 million are adults and 34 million are children. There are a good many pieces of evidence and research studies made which prove the fact that an untreated hearing loss can show up significant health problems in various aspects, including anxiety and depression, a decline in memory and concentration and sometimes even Dementia.

What is Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss, also known as hearing impairment, is an inability to hear partially or completely in either one or both the ears. When the hearing threshold or the minimum hearing ability of a person is over 25 decibels, then it is termed as hearing impairment.

Hearing loss is a sensitive condition which needs to be addressed on an urgent basis. In this case, procrastinating won’t help!

Why Did I Lose My Hearing?

One or more of the following reasons might be held responsible for your hearing loss -

  • 1Overexposure to loud noises
  • 2Ageing or presbycusis
  • 3Genetics
  • 4Otosclerosis - a hereditary disorder in which the ear is unable to amplify sounds, characterised by abnormal bone growth in the middle ear
  • 5Dislocation of the middle ear bones
  • 6Abnormal growths or tumours
  • 7Birth complications
  • 8Trauma to the ear
  • 9Head or neck injury
  • 10Malformations or defects in the ear - like a perforated eardrum
  • 11Ear infections
  • 12Certain diseases like Meniere’s disease (a disorder in the inner ear affecting hearing and balance)
  • 13Otitis media - a middle ear infection of the air-filled space behind the eardrum
  • 14Viral infections like measles or mumps
  • 15Meningitis
  • 16Stroke
  • 17Earwax buildup
  • 18High-blood pressure or hypertension
  • 19Diabetes
  • 20Obesity
  • 21Certain ototoxic medications
  • 22Smoking

Types of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be either temporary or permanent.
Hearing loss can be categorised based on the site of lesion and the age of onset.
Based on the site of lesion, we have three main types of hearing loss -

  • Conductive hearing loss - caused due to problems in the outer or middle ear
  • Sensorineural hearing loss - caused due to problems in the inner ear, especially the cochlea
  • Mixed hearing loss - when a person has problems in both the conductive and the sensorineural counterpart
Based on the age of onset, hearing loss can be -
  • A1. Pre-lingual - before learning language/speaking.
  • A2. Post-lingual - after learning language/speaking.
  • B1. Congenital hearing loss - occurs when one is born with a hearing disability.
  • B2. Acquired hearing loss - a condition in which one acquires hearing impairment gradually in his lifetime due to one or more reasons.

Hearing loss in one ear is termed as unilateral and for both ears, it is termed
as bilateral hearing loss.

Impacts of Hearing Loss

In children, hearing loss can affect the ability to learn and develop speech and language skills. Because we learn verbal communication skills only by hearing. Hearing impaired adults can have difficulties with social interaction, along with other conditions like a cognitive decline, Dementia and other psychological problems.

  • 1Anger, irritation and negative attitude towards everything.
  • 2One with hearing problems gradually secludes himself/herself from society, or are even shunned by its people.
  • 3Deteriorated performance in academics.
  • 4Reduced productivity at work.
  • 5Mental stress, despair, concern and mental fatigue increases.
  • 6A person gradually starts slipping into solitude. He/she becomes less attentive.
  • 7Chances of accidents increase from an inability to hear sounds in roads and honking of vehicles.
  • 8Hearing problems impact human memory and destroy the desire and ability to learn new things.

Types of Hearing Aids