Hearing Disorders and Deafness

Also called: Hearing loss, Presbycusis

It's frustrating to be unable to hear well enough to enjoy talking with friends or family. Hearing disorders make it hard, but not impossible, to hear. They can often be helped. Deafness can keep you from hearing sound at all.

What causes hearing loss? Some possibilities are

There are two main types of hearing loss. One happens when your inner ear or auditory nerve is damaged. This type is usually permanent. The other kind happens when sound waves cannot reach your inner ear. Earwax build-up, fluid, or a punctured eardrum can cause it. Treatment or surgery can often reverse this kind of hearing loss.

Untreated, hearing problems can get worse. If you have trouble hearing, you can get help. Possible treatments include hearing aids, cochlear implants, special training, certain medicines, and surgery.

NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Symptoms of Hearing Disorders and Deafness

The following features are indicative of Hearing Disorders and Deafness:
  • muffling of speech and other sounds
  • difficulty in understanding words
  • trouble hearing consonants
  • frequently asking others to speak more slowly, clearly and loudly
  • need to turn up the volume of the television or radio
  • withdrawal from conversations
  • avoidance of some social settings

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Common Causes of Hearing Disorders and Deafness

The following are the most common causes of Hearing Disorders and Deafness:
  • mutation of GJB2 gene
  • ear infections
  • meningitis
  • trauma
  • long-term exposure to loud noise
  • aging

Other Causes of Hearing Disorders and Deafness

The following are the less common causes of Hearing Disorders and Deafness:
  • intake of certain medicines such as antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs
  • maternal rubella infection
  • low birth weight
  • birth asphyxia
  • inappropriate use of particular drugs during pregnancy such as aminoglycosides, cytotoxic drugs, antimalarial drugs and diuretics
  • severe jaundice in the neonatal period
  • otitis media
  • injury to the head or ear
  • recreational exposure to loud sounds
  • wax or foreign bodies blocking the ear canal

Risk Factors for Hearing Disorders and Deafness

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Hearing Disorders and Deafness:
  • old age
  • loud noises
  • occupational noises
  • recreational noises

Prevention of Hearing Disorders and Deafness

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Hearing Disorders and Deafness. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • protect ears in the workplace
  • have your hearing tested
  • avoid recreational risks

Occurrence of Hearing Disorders and Deafness

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Hearing Disorders and Deafness cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Hearing Disorders and Deafness can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Hearing Disorders and Deafness can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Hearing Disorders and Deafness

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Hearing Disorders and Deafness:
  • Otoscopy: Visual examination of the outer ear, middle ear, eardrum, and ear canal with an optical instrument
  • Weber, Bing, Rinne and Schwabach tests: For manual testing of auditory function
  • Laboratory testing: To detect inflammation or infections
  • Imaging tests: To find out the pathology of different cases of hearing loss

Doctor for Diagnosis of Hearing Disorders and Deafness

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Hearing Disorders and Deafness:
  • General practitioner
  • Otolaryngologist
  • Audiologist
  • Audiometrist

Complications of Hearing Disorders and Deafness if untreated

Yes, Hearing Disorders and Deafness causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Hearing Disorders and Deafness is left untreated:
  • can get worse

Procedures for Treatment of Hearing Disorders and Deafness

The following procedures are used to treat Hearing Disorders and Deafness:
  • Removing wax blockage: Removing earwax by loosening it with oil and then suctioning out the softened wax
  • Surgical procedures: Surgery helps in the ears draining
  • Hearing aids: Helps by making sounds stronger and easier to hear
  • Cochlear implants: Amplifies sound and directs it into your ear canal

Self-care for Hearing Disorders and Deafness

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Hearing Disorders and Deafness:
  • Protect your ears in the workplace: Wear specially designed earmuffs that resemble earphones helps in protecting ears from damaging noise
  • Have your hearing tested: Consider regular hearing tests
  • Avoid recreational risks: Avoid activities such as riding a snowmobile, hunting or listening to rock concerts for long periods of time, can damage your hearing

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Hearing Disorders and Deafness

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Hearing Disorders and Deafness:
  • Acupuncture: Helps in the treatment of deafness
  • Hypnosis: Helps reducing the hearing diaorder symptoms
  • Ginkgo biloba: Helps reducing tinnitus symptoms
  • Zinc supplements: Helps reducing tinnitus symptoms
  • B vitamins: Helps reducing tinnitus symptoms
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy: Helps reducing tinnitus symptoms

Patient Support for Treatment of Hearing Disorders and Deafness

The following actions may help Hearing Disorders and Deafness patients:
  • Position yourself to hear: Face the person with whom you're having a conversation
  • Turn off background noise: Television may interfere with conversation
  • Choose quiet settings: Choose a place to talk that's away from noisy areas
  • Consider using an assistive listening device: Hearing devices can help you hear better

Time for Treatment of Hearing Disorders and Deafness

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Hearing Disorders and Deafness to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Disease cannot be treated but only maintained or effects reduced

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Hearing Disorders and Deafness.
Assistive Devices
Barotrauma
Cochlear Implants
Hearing Aids
Hearing Problems in Children
Meniere's Disease
Noise
Speech and Communication Disorders
Tinnitus

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